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Caged hens Q & A
Do these rules apply to all egg-laying hens?
NO. The law and the temporary rules apply ONLY to egg-laying hens in cages, not to free-range or cage-free egg-laying hens.
What do these temporary administrative rules mean?
The temporary rule provides a process for egg/egg product distributors and producers to verify to the department that eggs and/or egg products being sold in Oregon originated from hens managed in a facility either certified by United Egg Producers (UEP) or certified by an approved independent third party that it meets or exceeds the specific standards stipulated in the temporary rule. This verification must be on file with ODA to sell eggs or egg products in Oregon as of January 1, 2012.
How does the temporary rule differ from the proposed rule?
The temporary rule lists the specific standards required by the rule for all egg or egg product producers to meet for egg-laying hens in cages. The department needed to spend additional time beyond the January 1, 2012 effective date of the new law to clarify the rules with regard to equivalent practices to the United Egg Producers standards. The department will spend that additional time to further clarify the rule and address comments submitted by the public.
What are the standards required by the temporary rule?
If a production facility or source is UEP certified, Oregon's standards are met.
 
If a production facility or source is not UEP certified, the following production management standards must be met and verified to ODA:
  1. Cage configuration and equipment maintenance must be such that manure from birds in upper cage levels does not drop directly on birds in lower level cages
  2. All hens must be able to stand comfortably upright in their cage. The slope of the age floor should not exceed 8 degrees.
  3. Space allowance must be in the range of 67 to 86 square inches of usable space per bird to optimize hen welfare.
  4. Feeder space must be sufficient to allow all birds to eat at the same time.
  5. Chicks, pullets and hens must have continuous access to clean drinking water except that water may be shut off temporarily in preparation for the administration of vaccines or medication in the water.

What egg products are included?
"Egg products" are defined the same as in ORS 632.705 with some exceptions.
 
ORS 632.705 states: "Egg products" means the white, yolk, or any part of eggs, in liquid, frozen, dried, or any other form, used, intended or held for use, in the preparation of, or to be a part of or mixed with, food or food products, for human consumption, excepting products that contain eggs only in a relatively small proportion or historically have not been in the judgment of the department considered by consumers as products of the egg industry.
 
Exceptions allowed by the new law (Chapter 436 Oregon Laws 2011) are as follows: "egg products" does not include the following products when those products are prepared from inspected eggs or egg products and contain no more restricted eggs than are allowed in the official standards for United States Consumer Grade B shell eggs;
a.   Freeze-dried products;
b.   Imitation egg products;
c.    Egg substitutes;
d.   Dietary foods;
e.   Eggnog mixes;
f.    Acidic dressings;
g.   Noodles;
h.   Milk and egg dips;
i.    Cake mixes;
j.    French toast; and
k.   Sandwiches containing eggs or egg products.

How does a distributor/producer of eggs provide verification?
A copy of UEP certification or a notarized letter verifying that the eggs or egg products you are distributing to Oregon have met the standards required in the rule must be provided to the ODA.
Does a buyer of eggs or egg products, have to do anything?
First, make sure that the egg/egg product supplier has provided verification to ODA that the hens that produced the eggs/egg products being purchased are being managed according to UEP (or equivalent) standards.
 
Second: Maintain purchase receipts that clearly identify the egg/egg products supplier. This should be a standard practice for most businesses and will not require anything additional. ODA may request to see these receipts.

What is a farm business plan?
The new law requires commercial egg-laying farms in Oregon and who house egg-laying hens in cages, to develop a farm business plan. The temporary administrative rules outline the information that must be contained in this plan and that ODA may substantiate information contained in the plan. A farm business plan outlines the cage replacement goals of the farm to meet the implementation schedule and 2026 deadline for larger cage sizes.
What do I do with a Farm Business Plan?
The Farm Business Plan is to be submitted to the ODA upon renewal of an Oregon Egg Breaker license on July 1st of each year.
Do I have to comment on the temporary administrative rules?
The temporary administrative rule is valid for 180 days. During this period, you may provide comments on any portion of the rule that you feel important to address. Comments are most welcome to help the department determine whether to move forward with permanent adoption or amendment of the rule. A public hearing will be held when permanent rules are proposed.
Where can I get more information?
If you have questions please contact
Jason Barber
Oregon Department of Agriculture
635 Capitol St. NE
Salem OR 97301
503-986-4670