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article imageFSIS: Netherlands to sell liquid, dried and frozen eggs to U.S.

By Karen Graham     Jun 9, 2015 in Food
For the first time since 2002, the United States will begin importing eggs from the Netherlands. The move comes as a result of a shortage of liquid eggs used in commercial establishments and the manufacturing of products containing eggs.
With the avian influenza virus creating an egg shortage across the nation, the U.S. will soon begin importing egg products from the Netherlands to be used in commercial bakeries and in processed food manufacturing.
It is the first time in more than a decade that the U.S. has had to rely on eggs being bought from a European nation, but is necessary as the price of in-the-shell eggs has gone up, and liquid eggs have become scarce. Things have gotten so bad that one Texas-based supermarket chain started rationing the number of cartons of eggs purchased by consumers, according to an article in Digital journal on June 8.
Generally, enough eggs are produced in this country to meet consumer demand as well as the export of about 30 million dozens of eggs every month to trade partners, including Canada and Mexico. But the H5N2 virus that spread through the Midwest, including Iowa, the nation's largest egg producer, has left us with nearly 35 million dead egg-producing chickens.
The supply chain broken by the avian flu virus was the 80 percent of eggs that went to the "breaker egg" market. This is the liquid eggs sold to commercial bakeries and manufacturers of food products using eggs as an ingredient. The eggs are liquefied, dried or frozen.
Cory Martin, director of government relations for the American Bakers Association said, “Our members are not able to get their hands on enough eggs to continue their production. It’s very much a crisis for us right now."
Prices for eggs used by food manufacturers and bakeries jumped over 200 percent in just the past month. Some large bakeries have been forced to buy eggs by the dozen, cracking them one-at-a-time just to continue production, said Martin.
Canada has been the only country allowed to sell liquid, dried or frozen eggs in this country over the last few years. But with the supply chain broken, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), which oversees importation of egg products, announced last week that the Netherlands had met with their approval to export eggs to the U.S.
“Through a rigorous process of verification by FSIS of The Netherlands government inspection system, FSIS has determined that the country’s food safety system continues to be equivalent to that of the US, which ensures that product is safe, wholesome and properly labeled,” the federal agency said in a statement.
FSIS spokesman Adam Tarr said we should expect to start receiving shipments in just a few days, after some export language is worked out. According to the Agriculture Marketing Service, seven countries have been approved to export eggs to the U.S. They include, Chile, Argentina, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal.
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