Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: EGG PROCESSING SAFETY, QUALITY AND SECURITY

Location: Egg Safety and Quality

Title: Factors Affecting Egg Processing Microbiology

Author
item Musgrove, Michael

Submitted to: National Egg Products School Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: August 21, 2008
Publication Date: August 29, 2008
Citation: Musgrove, M.T. 2008. Factors Affecting Egg Processing Microbiology. National Egg Products School Proceedings.p.1-12.

Interpretive Summary: Eggs are designed to limit bacterial contamination of egg contents as well as to protect and nourish a developing embryo; these qualities contribute to eggs being wholesome and nutritious for humans. When eggs are involved in human enteritis, there is usually temperature abuse and pooling of raw product followed by consumption of improperly cooked eggs. Commercial washing and packaging procedures can limit the incidence of egg-borne disease. Commercial egg washing not only makes eggs more appealing to consumers but when performed according to American Marketing Service guidelines; it also results in safer eggs. Many factors contribute to the efficacy of commercial washing procedures. Eggs that are free of cracks and adhering feces, feathers, dust, or blood are easier to clean. Maintenance of cages, collection belts, and collection elevators and cleaning transport crates are important parts of delivering eggs free of cracks to the processing plant. Use of potable water, appropriate levels of detergent and sanitizer, keeping iron levels = 2 ppm, minimizing foaming, keeping pH levels above 10 and temperatures greater than 41 C are just some of the factors that help to ensure cleanliness and safety of eggs as food. Packing dry eggs into clean cartons or flats, and then refrigerating them as soon as possible improve chances of limiting population growth of any microorganisms that may have remained on or in eggs after washing. Federal law dictates that eggs are stored = 7 C after they are washed and packaged. Finally, transporting properly packed eggs to retail markets or further processing vendors = 7 C and preventing shell damage further decreases the already low risk of egg-borne disease.

Technical Abstract: Eggs are designed to limit bacterial contamination of egg contents as well as to protect and nourish a developing embryo; these qualities contribute to eggs being wholesome and nutritious for humans. When eggs are involved in human enteritis, there is usually temperature abuse and pooling of raw product followed by consumption of improperly cooked eggs. Commercial washing and packaging procedures can limit the incidence of egg-borne disease. Commercial egg washing not only makes eggs more appealing to consumers but when performed according to American Marketing Service guidelines; it also results in safer eggs. Many factors contribute to the efficacy of commercial washing procedures. Eggs that are free of cracks and adhering feces, feathers, dust, or blood are easier to clean. Maintenance of cages, collection belts, and collection elevators and cleaning transport crates are important parts of delivering eggs free of cracks to the processing plant. Use of potable water, appropriate levels of detergent and sanitizer, keeping iron levels = 2 ppm, minimizing foaming, keeping pH levels above 10 and temperatures greater than 41 C are just some of the factors that help to ensure cleanliness and safety of eggs as food. Packing dry eggs into clean cartons or flats, and then refrigerating them as soon as possible improve chances of limiting population growth of any microorganisms that may have remained on or in eggs after washing. Federal law dictates that eggs are stored = 7 C after they are washed and packaged. Finally, transporting properly packed eggs to retail markets or further processing vendors = 7 C and preventing shell damage further decreases the already low risk of egg-borne disease.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page