PA 17-184—HB 7066

Environment Committee

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

SUMMARY: This act changes the statutes on poultry and eggs by:

1. establishing a voluntary registration program for poultry flock owners to participate in the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) program, which seeks to prevent and contain avian disease breakouts ( 2);

2. authorizing the agriculture commissioner to adopt regulations to implement the registration program ( 2);

3. restricting when an owner can sell poultry or eggs as being disease-free or as participating in the NPIP ( 3);

4. prohibiting farmers who sell eggs at certified farmers' markets from selling falsely labeled or adulterated eggs ( 4); and

5. making minor changes to the definitions of certain terms used in the poultry dealer licensing statute ( 1).

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2017, except for the provisions on selling eggs at farmers' markets and revising definitions, which are effective upon passage.

1 — REVISIONS TO POULTRY DEALER LICENSING STATUTE

The act 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 for that consumer or restaurant. Prior law defined it as a facility that slaughters and sells poultry or hatching eggs 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. They must obtain a license from the Department of Agriculture (DoAg). Producers are those who raise or keep poultry for food production, 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 dealers.

2 — REGISTERING POULTRY FLOCKS

The act replaces prior law that governed DoAg's inspection and certification of poultry flocks with a voluntary registration program, under which poultry flock owners may register their flocks with DoAg to participate in the NPIP program. NPIP is a cooperative industry, state, and federal program that seeks to prevent, detect, and contain infectious and contagious diseases, such as avian influenza.

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

The act instead allows a poultry flock owner to register a flock with DoAg for an annual fee of (1) $50 for a flock of 100 or more and (2) $25 for a flock of fewer 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 DoAg commissioner or his agent determines it complies or qualifies.

The act exempts from its provisions any flock tested solely for entry into fairs, shows, or exhibits. It also authorizes the DoAg commissioner to adopt regulations implementing the registration program.

3 — SELLING POULTRY OR EGGS AS DISEASE-FREE

Under the act, no one may sell or offer for sale any live poultry or hatching eggs as being disease-free or as participating in the NPIP unless they are 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.

Under prior law, no one could sell or offer for sale any poultry, baby chicks, or hatching eggs as being disease-free unless the DoAg commissioner certified them as such.

4 — SELLING EGGS AT CERTIFIED FARMERS' MARKETS

Under the act, farmers selling eggs at certified farmers' markets (i.e., those the DoAg commissioner authorizes) 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). By law, the DoAg commissioner may impose civil penalties for a violation (CGS 22-7).