Examine Sauder's Safety
Lititz Record Express
by Richard Reitz
Record Express Editor
Lititz - When a group of leading Japanese businessmen and engineers wanted to
learn more about food environment safety, they came to America.
And when they wanted the best information about controlling
the salmonella bacteria, they made a stop at one of the industry
leaders - Sauder's Eggs on Route 501 north of Lititz.
afternoon, 26 Japanese businessmen and women and their translator
arrived by coach from a visit to the U.S. Department of Agriculture
in Washington, D.C. for a tour of the plant, followed by a
question-and-answer period with Paul Sauder, president of Sauder's
Eggs, that centered around controlling salmonella.
was part of a cooperative effort between the public and private
sector, according to Glen VanDerSchaff, trade representative
for Pennsylvania's Bureau of Market Development.
"We appreciate having one of the premiere egg producers in the
state open up its facility for this tour," VanDerSchaff said.
He said Pennsylvania has been a leader in the detection and
control of the salmonella bacteria, which causes food poisoning
and in some cases can be serious.
said a program called Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point
(HACCP) has been the key to minimizing outbreaks. "Food
safety has been a top priority of the Ridge Administration and
the Department of Agriculture," he said.
In Japan, a farmer's guide for egg handling has been published,
but is only voluntary and not enforced at this point.
"Salmonella has been more of a problem in Japan than in the
United States," VanDerSchaff said. According to one
of the Japanese visitors, about 10,000 people became ill with
salmonella in 1997, with about 3,000 traced back to eggs. Of
those, about 5-6 of the overall cases were fatal.
the tour, Sauder told the group that the HACCP system features
five key "check points" for salmonella
at critical points of production, from birth, to increments
of 15-weeks until the 60th week.
"We swab the environment to ensure it is free of salmonella," he
is tested for salmonella, and if it is positive, then the eggs
are checked. If a flock is
found to be infected, the eggs must be taken to a breaking
plant, where they are broken open and pasturized to rid the
eggs of the bacteria.
According to Sauder, 85 farmers produce eggs for Sauder's, and
of those, there are five flocks that have tested positive and
where all of the eggs are now taken to a breaking plant.
"Now we are at the point where we are seeing the benefits of
our program," Sauder said. Whereas in 1993-94 they
experienced five outbreaks of salmonella, he said after HACCP
was implemented, they had none.
in food safety are creating an increase in American egg consumption,
according to VanDerSchaff. Although
not quite to the Japanese level of 335 eggs consumed annually
per person, Americans are up to 240 in 1997, with a projected
243 annual average this year.
"The increase is because the American consumer has a lot more
faith in eggs and safety control," VanDerSchaff said.
An hour and
a half after they arrived, the Japanese group left for a stop
in Harrisburg before continuing their tour in California. They
left Lititz with ideas that may lead to improvements in food
safety for an entire nation.
"It's nice to see us ahead of Japan in something," Sauder