Egg Standards of Australia
ESA is a voluntary quality assurance program that has been developed through an extensive consultation process with egg farmers to provide a practical mechanism to demonstrate compliance and continuous improvement with egg production standards.
ESA replaces the previous industry scheme, Egg Corp Assured (ECA), providing greater clarity and a more robust set of compliance standards that have been independently reviewed against current Australian customer and regulatory requirements.
ESA has been developed to provide a compliance framework for egg farmers in meeting the needs of regulators, retailers, farmers and customers in areas including hen welfare, egg quality, biosecurity, food safety, work health and safety and environmental management.
ESA is structured into three levels to enable egg farmers to join the program at the level that best suits their business needs and customer requirements.
- Level 1 – Basic: An entry level for egg farmers who are new to the egg industry or who have not previously participated in a quality assurance program. Egg farms certified at this level are audited to Level 1 compliance criteria.
- Level 2 – Core: An intermediate level suited to egg farmers with a more developed compliance system and record keeping procedures. Egg farms certified at this level must be audited against both Level 1 and Level 2 compliance criteria.
- Level 3 – Comprehensive: An advanced level suited to egg farmers with a fully developed compliance system and record keeping procedures, to meet the requirements of major retail customers. Egg farms certified at this level must be audited against all three levels of compliance criteria.
The structure is aimed at encouraging broad industry participation and improved compliance outcomes as egg farmers transition through Level 1 and Level 2 over a two year period.
There is no cost for an egg business to join the ESA program and access ESA resources (available through your My AusEggs login). Once a business has implemented ESA and seeks certification, an annual $55.00 certification fee will be charged for each site. Egg farmers will also need to meet the actual cost of the annual compliance audit for each site.
Unannounced audits may be conducted under ESA, where a formal complaint has been made and Australian Eggs considers an audit is justified in order to maintain the integrity of the program. Under such circumstances, Australian Eggs will meet the full cost of the audit cost.
Egg farmers will have a choice of four certification bodies (SGS, BSI, AusQual and MXNS) to conduct their ESA audit. All ESA approved auditors have the appropriate qualifications and experience to conduct egg production audits. The consistency of audit process is closely monitored.
The ESA program will be administered by AUS-MEAT from 1 August 2018. AUS‐MEAT will manage audit scheduling, audit reporting and issuing of certificates. They can be contacted at email@example.com. All participating ESA members were notified of the change of scheme administrator on the 10 July 2018 via email. If you did not receive this email, please contact us to update your details.
Workshops are delivered nationally (from time-to-time) by Australian Eggs to assist with providing farmers with a better understanding of the requirements of ESA and the audit process. Further implementation support is available through an Interpretation Guideline (available at My AusEggs) that is intended to provide support and accompaniment to the Standard by identifying and suggesting methods of compliance. It is important to remember that the Standard is the Standard and the Guideline has been prepared to provide guidance only.
The existing ECA Grading and Packing Standard remains current. ESA for Grading and Packing is in the final stages of review and will be released in the third quarter of 2018. There will be a lead in period following its release, to allow farmers to make the transition.
A review of the operation of ESA is currently underway to identify opportunities for improvement and to make sure that it continues to strike an appropriate balance between the needs of all stakeholders. Feedback on Consultation Draft June 2018 has been received and is currently being considered ahead of a face to face meeting with the ESA Technical Panel and a workshop for all egg farmers on 16 and 17 August 2018.
For information on the audit process and to register for ESA, please contact AUS-MEAT on (07) 3361 9200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.