OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5312

AN ACT CONCERNING MINOR CHANGES TO THE POULTRY DEALER LICENSING STATUTE, REGISTRATION OF POULTRY FLOCKS AND THE LABELLING OF FARM STAND EGGS.

SUMMARY:

This bill changes the statutes on poultry and eggs by:

1. establishing a voluntary registration program for poultry flock owners to enable them to participate in the National Poultry Improvement Plan, which seeks to prevent and contain avian disease outbreaks;

2. authorizing the Department of Agriculture (DoAg) commissioner to adopt regulations to implement the registration program;

3. restricting when an owner can sell poultry or eggs as disease free;

4. prohibiting people who sell eggs directly to consumers (e.g., at farm stands) from selling falsely labeled or adulterated eggs; and

5. making minor changes to the poultry dealer licensing statute definitions.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016, except for the farm stand egg selling and poultry dealer licensing statute revisions, which are effective upon passage.

2 — REGISTERING POULTRY FLOCKS

The bill replaces current law about DoAg's inspection and certification of poultry flocks with a registration program, under which poultry flock owners may register their flocks with DoAg to participate in the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP). NPIP is a cooperative industry, state, and federal program that seeks to prevent, detect, and contain infectious and contagious diseases, such as Avian influenza.

Current law allows a poultry flock owner to have DoAg examine the flock for infectious and contagious diseases. Any diseased fowl are removed, destroyed, or quarantined, and the owner must immediately clean and disinfect the premises of any such fowl. The examination is done at no cost to the owner. For a flock of 100 or more fowl, UConn's pathology department may charge the owner a portion of the laboratory costs, but these may be waived for an owner under age 18 or over age 65. For flocks of less than 100 fowl, the owner must pay the full cost of the laboratory tests.

The bill instead allows a poultry flock owner to register a flock with DoAg for an annual fee of $50 for a flock of 100 or more and $25 for a flock of less than 100. Registration fees are waived for owners age 18 or younger.

Registered flocks are placed in the NPIP program. Owners are responsible for paying the full cost of laboratory testing needed to comply with NPIP standards or qualify for an avian disease status. If a flock fails to comply or qualify, the owner cannot sell or offer for sale any poultry until the agriculture commissioner or his agent determines compliance or qualification is met.

The bill's provisions do not apply to any flock tested solely for entry into fairs, shows, or exhibits.

The bill authorizes the commissioner to adopt implementing regulations.

3 — CLAIMING POULTRY OR EGGS ARE DISEASE FREE

Under the bill, no one may sell or offer for sale any live poultry or hatching eggs as being disease free or participating in the NPIP unless they are currently participating in and in good standing with (1) the NPIP, as administered by the state of origin for the poultry or eggs, or (2) an avian disease monitoring program administered by an animal health authority for the state or country of origin for the poultry or eggs.

This requirement replaces current law, under which no one may sell or offer for sale any poultry, baby chicks, or hatching eggs as being disease free unless the agriculture commissioner certifies them as such.

4 — FARM STAND EGGS

Under the bill, people selling eggs directly to consumers (e.g., at farm stands) cannot (1) falsely label eggs or (2) offer for sale eggs that are adulterated (e.g., injurious to health or not fit for human consumption). Violators will be fined up to $50 for a first offense and up to $200 for subsequent offenses (CGS 22-49).

By law, anyone producing and selling eggs for human consumption must label the eggs in compliance with federal law (CGS 22-40). No one can advertise, falsely label, sell, or offer for sale eggs that do not meet the labelling requirements or are adulterated (CGS 22-45). Current law exempts from those requirements producers selling their own eggs directly to consumers (CGS 22-47). Under the bill, regardless of the exemption, no producer can falsely label eggs or sell adulterated eggs.

1 — REVISIONS TO POULTRY DEALER LICENSING STATUTE

The bill makes technical changes and corrections to the poultry dealer licensing statute. It removes a redundancy from the definition of “dealer” and corrects the definition of “producer” by referring to table eggs (i.e., eggs meant for human consumption) instead of hatching eggs. It also narrows the definition of “live bird market” to mean a retail establishment that sells live poultry directly to an end consumer or restaurant and slaughters the poultry on-site. Current law defines it as a facility that slaughters and sells poultry to the public or restaurants or sells live poultry for any purpose.

By law, dealers are those engaged in the commercial trade or transportation of live poultry or hatching eggs and must obtain a license from DoAg. Producers are those who raise or keep poultry for food production or show or exhibition. The law generally exempts producers from the dealer licensing requirement; however, producers who are haulers transporting live poultry or hatching eggs to a live bird market, distributor, or dealer must be licensed as a dealer.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Environment Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

24

Nay

4

(03/04/2016)