PEQAPPennsylvania Egg Quality Assurance Program
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In addition to looking for the PEQAP symbol on their egg carton, the Poultry Council suggests consumers should keep eggs and egg-containing products properly refrigerated to ensure freshness and safety.
Developed, sponsored and promoted by the Poultry Council of PennAg Industries, Pennsylvania's leading agribusiness trade association, PEQAP has been applauded by national consumer interest groups, including the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture helped develop PEQAP and provides oversight, financial and technical support.
One producer of 45 million dozen eggs annually estimates the cost of PEQAP at about $1 million per year.
Yet, PEQAP eggs remain an economical food choice, and one that is increasingly recognized as a vital source of essential nutrients, including protein and antioxidants, as part of a balanced diet," Shirk added.
Kreider, president of Kreider Farms, which produces 45 million dozen eggs a year under PEQAP for the Northeast market.
Peechatka, executive vice president, PennAg Industries Association, the PEQAP sponsor.
The federal Food and Drug Administration has signed a formal partnership agreement with PennAg and the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Agriculture recognizing PEQAP standards and their contribution to food safety.
PEQAP involves best management practices in all the steps of egg production, from purchase of chicks through the refrigeration of the egg.
Together, under PEQAP, the Department of Agriculture and Pennsylvania's egg and poultry industry have worked to make Pennsylvania the first state in the nation to institute management practices that minimize Salmonella enteritidis contamination of chicken (shell) eggs," noted Secretary Hayes.