Processing Magazine

US egg processors to be allowed to export production

April 15, 2013
egg production
The biggest producer of eggs in the United States is Iowa, which recorded a total output of 14.5 billion eggs in 2011.

The export of shelled eggs has been a profitable business for many poultry farms in the United States for years. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now creating even more opportunities for both producers and processors, as it announced plans to certify the export of a number of egg-containing products in a press release published on its website.

The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will shortly be issuing certificates for the export of a wide variety of products, including omelets, crepes, hard boiled eggs, frozen egg patties, mayonnaise and other food products that contain egg extracts. It is estimated that the total market for U.S. exports of processed eggs and egg products stands at about $500 million.

According to agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack, the move is just another step taken by the Obama Administration to ensure that U.S. producers of quality agricultural products are granted the option to export and to develop their business. This would open up new markets for local producers of egg products, while bringing extra revenues to the national economy and creating jobs across farms and processing facilities across the country. The United States is right in the middle of its strongest ever agricultural export period and it is likely that the boost will continue over the following years, he added.

Dave Shipman, AMS administrator, said that there was a growing global demand for such products and U.S. processors could now take advantage of that. The program would grant certification to producers for countries that require such documents to facilitate the expansion of their business to new markets, he went on.

The biggest producer of eggs in the United States is Iowa, which recorded a total output of 14.5 billion eggs in 2011. About 3,700 people are employed in hatchery, production and processing jobs in Iowa, generating about $156 million per year in direct payroll. Kevin Vinchattle, chief executive officer and executive director of the Iowa Poultry Association/Iowa Egg Council, commented that the announcement was good news for the industry and stated that any measure that can open marketing opportunities overseas is a positive development for the Iowa egg industry. Previously, egg processors had no opportunities for export, as their products contained other ingredients as well and export was only allowed for shelled eggs, which denied marketing opportunities in many countries for processors, he explained.

The certification program was developed in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration and the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, as well as with a number of industry groups, the press release noted. Once AMS finds that a company meets the established certification requirements, it will include the company in the list of companies eligible for export by product and country. The company would then contact AMS for an export certificate covering a certain product and identify the foreign country it wished to ship its production to.