Novel Food Information - High Pressure Processing (HPP)-Treated Egg Salad, Egg Dips, and Egg Spreads

Health Canada has notified Burnbrae Farms Ltd., that it has no objection to the food use of High Pressure Processing (HPP)-treated egg salad, egg dips, and egg spreads. The Department conducted a comprehensive assessment of these HPP-treated food products according to its Guidelines for the Safety Assessment of Novel Foods. These Guidelines are based upon internationally accepted principles for establishing the safety of foods with novel traits.

Background:

The following provides a summary of the notification from Burnbrae Farms Ltd. and the evaluation by Heath Canada and contains no confidential business information.

1. Introduction

This Novel Food Information document has been prepared to summarize the opinion regarding the subject products provided by the Food Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada. This opinion is based upon the comprehensive review of information submitted by the petitioner according to the Guidelines for the Safety Assessment of Novel Foods.

The petitioner intends to produce HPP-treated egg salad, egg dips, and egg spreads for the purpose of extending the refrigerated shelf life of these treated products. The cooked egg products will be packaged into flexible and water-resistant packaging prior to HPP treatment. The products will then be subjected to HPP treatment at 87,000 psi/600 MPa for a 2-min cycle.

In the event of an incomplete treatment cycle, the petitioner would like the ability to treat their product for an accumulated treatment time beyond 2 minutes to accommodate a restart of the HPP treatment process.

While HPP-treated egg salad, egg dips, and egg spreads are subjected to a lethality treatment (i.e. the eggs are boiled) prior to the HPP treatment, these products must still be stored under refrigeration conditions for the entirety of their shelf life.

The assessment conducted by the Food Directorate considered the intended addition of an HPP treatment to the current manufacturing process, the nutritional composition of both HPP-treated and untreated products, the potential for the HPP treatment to generate any toxic compounds within the products, and the microbiological safety of the finished HPP-treated products. Burnbrae Farms Ltd. has provided scientific rationales which demonstrate that these egg products treated at 87,000 psi/600 MPa for a minimum of 2 minutes up to a maximum of 27 minutes are as safe as their equivalent untreated products.

The Food Directorate has a legislated responsibility for pre-market assessment of novel foods and novel food ingredients as detailed in the Food and Drug Regulations (Division 28). Egg salad, egg dips, and egg spreads treated by high pressure processing (HPP) are considered novel foods under the following part of the definition of novel foods:

"b) a food that has been manufactured, prepared, preserved or packaged by a process that

  1. has not been previously applied to that food, and
  2. causes that food to undergo a major change."

2. Development of the novel food

Burnbrae Farms Ltd. has provided information describing the impact of the HPP treatment on the nutritional composition, microbiological safety, and toxicological safety of the treated products.

Scientific rationales were provided to support the nutritional and toxicological safety for egg salad, egg dips, and egg spreads treated with HPP at 87,000 psi/600 MPa for up to 27 minutes. Microbiological data was provided for the finished products treated at 87,000 psi/600 MPa for 2 minutes only, with the rationale that additional treatment would not decrease the microbiological safety of these products. The evaluators considered this rationale acceptable.

3. Dietary Exposure

It is expected that HPP-treated egg salad, egg dips, and egg spreads will be consumed at a similar rate as compared to untreated egg salad, egg dips and egg spreads.

4. Chemistry

The safety of all packaging materials is regulated under Division 23, Part B of the Food and Drug Regulations. It is the ongoing responsibility of the manufacturer to ensure that the packaging materials used for their product are acceptable for their intended use. A list of all packaging materials (including those acceptable for HPP treatment) accepted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), for use in federally-registered establishments, is  available on the CFIA website.

To demonstrate the acceptability of the packaging materials used for HPP-treated egg salad, egg dips, and egg spreads, the petitioner provided a Letter of No Objection (dated September 17, 2010) from the Bureau of Chemical Safety addressed to their packaging material supplier, Winpack (Winnipeg, MB). The Letter states that DELI*1 pouches (along with several other laminate structures) are proposed for packaging foods that will be subjected to an HPP treatment of up to 100,000 psi/689 MPa for a minimum of 30 seconds up to a maximum of 10 minutes. The Letter also indicates that in some instances it may be required to repeat the HPP treatment up to five times to insure optimum sterile conditions.

5. Microbiology

The petitioner provided data to demonstrate the microbiological safety of HPP-treated egg salad, egg dips, and egg spreads against the following microbiological specifications: an aerobic colony count of less than 105 cfu/g, a coliform and Escherichia coli O157:H7 count of less than 10 cfu/g, an absence of Listeria monocytogenes in 25 g, and an absence of Salmonella spp. in 25 g. The petitioner provided data from 3 lots of HPP-treated egg salad, egg dips, and egg spreads to demonstrate that their specifications are consistently met. The microbiological methods used to test the HPP-treated egg salad, egg dips, and egg spreads are from Health Canada's HPB Methods for the Microbiological Analysis of Foods (MFHPB-18, Determination of the Aerobic Colony Count in Foods; MFHPB-34, Enumeration of Escherichia coli and Coliforms in Food Products and Food Ingredients Using 3M™ Petrifilm™ E. coli Count Plates) and Laboratory Procedures for the Microbial Analysis of Foods (MFLP-28, The Qualicon Bax® System Method for the Detection of Listeria monocytogenes in a Variety of Food; MFLP-29, The Qualicon BaxÒ System Method for the Detection of Salmonella in a Variety of Food and Environmental Samples).

Based on the data provided, the petitioner demonstrated that these HPP-treated egg salad, egg dips, and egg spreads are just as microbiologically safe as their untreated counterparts. The Bureau of Microbial Hazards has no objection to the food use of these HPP-treated products.

6. Nutrition

The impact of HPP on the nutritional composition of Ready-To-Eat (RTE) meats (which includes egg salad) and poultry products treated at 87,000 psi/600 MPa for a minimum of 3 minutes up to a maximum of 27 minutes was previously assessed by the Bureau of Nutritional Sciences (Health Canada, 2006 and 2010). Based on those assessments, the Bureau does not have any concerns from a nutritional perspective regarding HPP-treated egg salad, egg dips, and egg spreads treated at 87,000 psi/600 MPa for up to 27 minutes.

As the proposed HPP-treatment of the petitioner's egg salad, egg dips, and egg spreads is a milder treatment (i.e., a treatment of 2 minutes compared to 3 minutes) than what has previously been assessed, the Bureau has no objection to the sale of HPP-treated egg salad, egg dips, and egg spreads treated at 87,000 psi/600 MPa for a minimum of 2 minutes up to a maximum of 27 minutes.

7. Toxicology

The potential for HPP to generate any toxic compounds within RTE meats and poultry products treated at 87,000 psi/600 MPa for a minimum of 3 minutes up to a maximum of 27 minutes was previously assessed by the Bureau of Chemical Safety (Health Canada, 2006 and 2010). Based on those assessments, the Bureau does not have any concerns from a toxicological perspective regarding HPP-treated egg salad, egg dips, and egg spreads treated at 87,000 psi/600 MPa for up to 27 minutes.

As the proposed HPP-treatment of the petitioner's egg salad, egg dips, and egg spreads is a milder treatment (i.e., a treatment of 2 minutes compared to 3 minutes) than what has previously been assessed, the Bureau has no objection to the sale of HPP-treated egg salad, egg dips, and egg spreads treated at 87,000 psi/600 MPa for a minimum of 2 minutes up to a maximum of 27 minutes.

8. Labelling

Exposure to the HPP treatment of 87,000 psi/600 MPa for up to a maximum of 27 minutes does not cause a significant compositional change in the treated foods, nor have there been any safety concerns raised regarding the use of this process for egg salad, egg dips, and egg spreads. On this basis, mandatory labelling requirements are not necessary in this case.

Conclusion:

Health Canada's review of the information presented in support of the food use of egg salad, egg dips, and egg spreads, which have been treated at 87,000 psi/600 MPa for a minimum of 2 minutes up to a maximum of 27 minutes, concluded that this use does not raise concerns related to food safety. Health Canada is of the opinion that these HPP-treated food products are as safe as their untreated counterparts on the Canadian market.

This opinion is solely with respect to the suitability of sale of these HPP-treated food products. It is the continuing responsibility of the food manufacturer or importer to ensure that their products are in compliance with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. Any new information obtained in relation to these products which has potential health and safety implications should be forwarded to Health Canada for our consideration in order to ensure the continued safety and integrity of all foods available in the Canadian marketplace. The sale of a food which poses a hazard to the health of consumers would contravene the provisions of the Food and Drugs Act.

This Novel Food Information document has been prepared to summarize the opinion regarding the subject product provided by the Food Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada. This opinion is based upon the comprehensive review of information submitted by the petitioner according to the Guidelines for the Safety Assessment of Novel Foods.

For further information, please contact:

Novel Foods Section
Food Directorate
Health Products and Food Branch
Health Canada, PL2204A1
251 Frederick Banting Driveway
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9
novelfoods-alimentsnouveaux@hc-sc.gc.ca

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