The Food and Drug Administration has brought in new rules to prevent infections from improper handling and storage of eggs across the United States.

America reports more than 30 deaths and as many as 79,000 illnesses each year due to improper handling of eggs and the resultant infections from bacteria like salmonella. The FDA believes that the new rules will drastically bring down the diseases caused by consumption of eggs contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis.

“Preventing harm to consumers is our first priority,” said Margaret A. Hamburg, commissioner, US FDA “Today’s action will help prevent thousands of serious illnesses from Salmonella in eggs.”

New regulations, which went into effect last week, mandates that egg producers with more than 50,000 laying hens are required to adopt preventive measures. The egg producers are required to use refrigeration during egg storage and transportation.

Poultry farms that produce fewer than 50,000 eggs but with at least 3,000 laying hens will have to mandatorily carry out pasteurization on their produce.

US FDA also requires that egg-producers compulsorily maintain a written Salmonella Enteritidis prevention plan and records documenting their compliance.

However, egg producers who have less than 3,000 hens and who sell eggs directly to consumers are not required to comply with the new regulations. The Obama administration announced the new rules for egg-producers in July 2009. However, it took a year’s time for it to take effect.