Producing Eggs in Schools
If your school is producing eggs and then selling or supplying them intact to others (including teachers, parents, or the local community), then you must hold an accreditation with Safe Food. ‘Supply’ includes the act of giving eggs away for free.
What is an accreditation?
An accreditation with Safe Food is a legal requirement for all businesses in Queensland that are undertaking certain activities related to the primary production and processing of:
- Horticulture (seed sprouts)
Schools are captured under our legislation if they produce eggs intended for human consumption that are sold or supplied to others.
What activities at my school require an accreditation?
Producing eggs onsite that are then sold or supplied to others for human consumption (i.e. they leave school grounds) will require an accreditation. This applies to all schools, regardless of their flock size or type of poultry they keep (chickens, ducks, quail, turkeys, etc).
If your school is producing eggs for educational purposes (e.g. part of an agricultural program), an accreditation is issued at no charge.
If your school is producing eggs solely for commercial purposes then you are not captured under our policy for schools and will require an accreditation as an Egg Producer instead, which will incur a fee.
What activities do NOT require an accreditation?
If you are producing eggs and using all of them on school property, you do not require an accreditation. Examples include using the eggs in cooking classes, the tuckshop, analysing them in science classes, or producing compost, etc.
You also do not require an accreditation if you are changing the eggs in a substantial way before selling or supplying. For example, using them to bake cakes and then selling those cakes. Schools only require an accreditation if they are selling or supplying whole shell eggs.
While you may not require an accreditation with Safe Food, you may still require a license with your local council; for example, if you operate a tuckshop. We recommend contacting your local council for advice.
Why is an accreditation necessary for schools?
Eggs can be a high-risk food if not produced correctly because of the porous nature of the eggshell. This means that nasty pathogens, such as Salmonella and E. coli, can infect an egg and go on to make people sick.
Children, pregnant women, and the elderly are especially vulnerable to food borne illness from eggs. These populations are directly involved with schools, which is why it is important that all schools in Queensland adhere to the same food safety standards when it comes to egg production.
Schools play an important role in teaching students the fundamentals in food safety, to reduce their risk of foodborne illness and develop important life skills. Things like washing hands thoroughly after handling chickens and eggs, removing cracked or dirty eggs from the supply chain, and stamping each egg with a unique identifier for traceability are important food safety practices that all egg businesses in Queensland must follow. Teaching these skills in schools will better equip students who may wish to pursue a career in agriculture or food production in the future.
How does my school apply for accreditation?
Before you can apply for accreditation as a Safe Food Queensland Producing (School) under the Egg Scheme of the Food Production (Safety) Regulation 2014, you must provide evidence to Safe Food that you have registered as a biosecurity entity with Biosecurity Queensland, and provide your Property Identification Code (PIC)
Please note, the Biosecurity Queensland website states that you do not need to register as an egg producer if you have less than 100 birds. However, Safe Food Production Queensland requires that every Queensland school that produces eggs and supplies to others must be registered as a Biosecurity Entity as well as accredited with Safe Food.
The benefits of being registered as a Biosecurity Entity means both industry and government can react in a timely manner in the unlikely event of a disease outbreak that threatens the poultry industry.
There is a nominal fee to apply for registration as a Biosecurity Entity. More information is available at Biosecurity Queensland.
Your application to Safe Food must include the following:
- A completed application form (under the name of your school principal)
- A management statement outlining how your school manages the food safety risks involved with producing eggs. A template is available to guide you.
- A site plan and photos of your chicken coups, processing area, hand wash facilities, etc.
- A copy of your school’s curriculum that teaches students about egg production and food safety.
- Evidence of registration as a Biosecurity Entity and a copy of your Property Identification Code (PIC) issued by Biosecurity Queensland.
- A biosecurity map of your site.
Further information on what to submit and how is available here.
Who is responsible for the accreditation within my school?
An accreditation must be issued under the name of your school principal, as ultimately, they oversee the operations of your school. However, we will also need the contact details for whoever is in charge of caring for your birds on a day-to-day basis. For example, who manages your school agricultural program.
If these details change (e.g. a new principal is elected or a new person takes over management of your flock), you must inform Safe Food in writing by emailing us at email@example.com.
Are there fees involved with an accreditation?
There are no application or accreditation fees for schools that house birds for egg purposes.
How will Safe Food monitor compliance with regulation?
Safe food will conduct data monitoring, assessments and, if needed, surveillance activities.
Schools that house 100 birds or less (for egg purposes) will need to:
• undertake an annual self-assessment checklist and Business Profile.
Schools that house more than 100 birds (for egg purposes) will need to:
• participate in the Egg Central Information Monitoring System (CIMS) program by submitting data to Safe Food regularly
• complete an annual self-assessment checklist and Business Profile.
Examples of data include the number of eggs you collect each week, and the number of cracked or dirty eggs removed from your supply chain. This data provides an indication of how healthy your egg-laying birds might be, how clean your chicken coups are, and how effective your egg candling and cleaning processes are.
There is no fee involved with supplying data to Safe Food, however it is a requirement of your accreditation. More information on what data you need to supply will be provided once an accreditation has been issued.
In addition, schools may be required to participate in surveillance monitoring. In this instance, schools will be given notice before any on-site visits occur.
What are my school’s accreditation responsibilities?
All eggs produced in Queensland must comply with Chapter 4 of the Food Production (Safety) Regulation 2014.
Food safety notifications
Your school must immediately notify Safe Food if you become aware or suspect a food safety issue with your eggs. You must also inform us of the steps you plan to take to handle the affected product.
Examples of notifiable scenarios may include:
- Cracked/dirty/unstamped eggs accidently being sold or supplied
- Unacceptable microbiological test results (e.g. high salmonella count on eggs)
- Equipment failures at critical control points (e.g. egg candling/stamping equipment is broken)
- Severe illness or health issues with your egg-laying flock
You can call us on 3253 9800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
More information can be viewed in our Notifications Protocol.
Food safety complaints
Safe Food also investigates food safety complaints related to business that we accredit. If we receive a complaint about the eggs produced by your school, you must cooperate with our investigation and supply the information we request in a timely manner. If non-compliances are found during our investigation, there may be a fee involved to conduct an audit.
How long is an accreditation valid for?
Your accreditation is valid for the calendar year (1 January – 31 December). This means that you must renew your accreditation each year, before 1 January, in order to continue operating. There are no fees involved for schools to renew their accreditation. Safe Food will contact you in writing in October/November with details on how to renew.
As schools will break for holidays before the end of the year, we recommend you renew your accreditation before end of Term 4, while staff members are available.
Surrendering your accreditation
If your school changes its operations in regard to egg production (e.g. you get rid of your flock or stop selling or supplying eggs), you will no longer require an accreditation with Safe Food. You must surrender your accreditation in writing. You can do this by emailing email@example.com with your accreditation number and reason for surrender.
How can Safe Food support our school’s curriculum around food safety?
Safe Food issues accreditations to schools at no charge as part of our commitment to promoting egg safety and general food safety practices within Queensland schools. We are here to support you in ensuring students are learning these important life skills and for your school to reflect what happens in the ‘real world’ on egg farms and in egg processing facilities.
If you would like more guidance on what to include in your curriculum about egg safety, please contact us.