Guidance Documents
Click here for updated guidance materials (March 2017)

The Summary of the Secure Egg Supply (SES) Plan  (Download the SES Plan Final Summary)


The SES Plan promotes food security and animal health through continuity of market planning for a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak. This plan makes specific science- and risk- based recommendations that emergency decision makers (such as Incident Commanders) can use to rapidly decide whether to issue or deny permits for the movement of egg industry products during an HPAI outbreak.

Download the full Secure Egg Supply (SES) Plan


The Egg Sector Working Group – a multidisciplinary
team – prepared the SES plan. This team includes
the following:

  • University of Minnesota, Center for Animal Health
    and Food Safety
  • Iowa State University, Center for Food Security
    and Public Health
  • United Egg Producers
  • Egg sector veterinarians and officials
  • State officials
  • United States Department of Agriculture, Animal
    and Plant Health Inspection Service, Veterinary Services (USDA APHIS VS)

The SES Plan is based on current research and practice in fields including virology, flock husbandry, epidemiology, and risk-assessment. The SES plan uses science- and risk-based preparedness and response components (see figure below) to provide guidance on permitting the movement of egg industry products from
a Control Area during an HPAI outbreak. Simultaneously, these recommendations effectively manage the risk
of HPAI transmission to naïve premises. Through the integrated implementation of the components listed in the figure below, this plan provides a high degree of confidence that egg industry products moved into market channels do not contain HPAI virus.

Summary of SES Plan Testing Requirements for Product Movement


The surveillance recommendations for real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RRT-PCR) testing for poultry within an HPAI Control Area are based on guidance prepared by the APHIS Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health (CEAH), National Surveillance Unit. Guidance on observational surveillance, including the mortality threshold and clinical signs, is based on information provided by the Egg Sector Working Group and proactive risk-assessment team at CEAH.


Flocks are to be monitored daily for obvious signs and symptoms of disease. An increase in mortality is daily mortality greater than 3 times the past 7-day average and greater than 0.03 percent. Flocks that do not display such signs and have no apparent increase in mortality will be monitored by RRT-PCR testing or another suitable procedure, as determined by Incident Command.


An RRT-PCR ‘test’ is defined as the testing of one 5-bird pool or one 11-bird pool sample from dead or euthanized sick birds per 50 dead from each house on the premises. Movement of products may require one or more negative RRT-PCR test results, as indicated in the product specific summaries for initial and subsequent movements. When a hold is required for movement, at least one of the two required RRT-PCR tests must be taken on the second day of holding or later.


A State or Federal regulatory official or an individual authorized by Incident Command takes 5 oropharyngeal swabs from 5 dead chickens per 50 dead from each house (or 11 swabs from 11 dead chickens per 50 dead birds from each house) and the swabs (5 or 11) are pooled in a tube containing the appropriate amount of brain-heart infusion (BHI) broth for the number of swabs. In the case of an 11 swab pool, swabs will be added to the tube, swirled in the media, squeezed out and removed from the tube. Sampling and disposal should be completed in a biosecure manner. The samples are submitted to an authorized State veterinary diagnostic laboratory. Veterinary diagnostic laboratory personnel perform RRT-PCR testing on samples immediately upon receipt and transmit the results to the Incident Command on the same day. The Incident Command reports the tests results to the farm manager. If the test is not negative or if daily mortality spikes over 3 times the past 7-day average, additional diagnostic testing will be conducted. The Incident Commander has discretion for identifying the number of samples which should be taken based on the epidemiological situation. For more information on taking 5 swabs versus 11 swabs, please see the full SES Plan. If you have questions on proper sample collection or submission procedures, please contact your State veterinary diagnostic laboratory.


The RRT-PCR test is not a pathotyping assay, and cannot separate HPAI and LPAI strains. However, RRT-PCR testing can be used as a means to know that targeted avian influenza strains (both low and high pathogenicity) are present if there is a positive RRT-PCR. All mention of RRT-PCR testing in the SES Plan is in reference to surveillance for HPAI in an outbreak situation, after HPAI has been characterized by virus isolation and/or other pathotyping assays. If positive RRT-PCR tests are obtained with no confirmation of illness or mortality, further pathotyping will be conducted to determine the presence of HPAI.


Pasteurized Liquid Eggs

Non Pasteurized Liquid Eggs

Washed and Sanitized Shell Eggs

Nest Run Shell Eggs

Layer Hatching Eggs

Layer Day-Old Chicks

Egg Shells

Inedible Eggs