Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTERVENTION AND PROCESSING STRATEGIES FOR FOOD-BORNE PATHOGENS IN SHELL EGGS

Location: Egg Safety and Quality

Title: Perspectives on Egg and Food-Borne Disease

Author
item Musgrove, Michael

Submitted to: National Egg Quality School Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 15, 2011
Publication Date: May 16, 2011
Citation: Musgrove, M.T. 2011. Perspectives on Egg and Food-Borne Disease. National Egg Quality School Proceedings. p.1-12.

Interpretive Summary: Eggs are a safe and nutritious food. In the mid-80s there was an increase in the incidence of outbreaks due to Salmonella Enteritidis (SE). A large percentage of those outbreaks were associated with consumption of eggs or foods that contained eggs. In recent years, efforts to diminish egg-borne illness have been bolstered by a “farm to fork” approach. Poultry improvement plans have been developed and implemented by the egg industry. These plans focus on factors during production that can contribute to the contamination of eggs with SE such as rodent populations. Outbreaks of salmonellosis due to SE have decreased from the incidence peak observed in the late 1980s. Since the late 1990s, several surveys have been conducted concerning consumer knowledge/practices of kitchen hygiene and safe food handling/preparation. Data obtained in these studies have lead several food safety organizations, including the World Health Organization, to launch education programs that focus on consumers. This “food chain” approach, that begins at the farm and ends in the home of consumers, may take food safety to the next level in developed countries world-wide. While efforts to improve egg microbiology continue, it is important to remember that eggs which are properly refrigerated, handled, and cooked are very unlikely to result in egg-borne salmonellosis. This information is important for consumers, regulators, academia, and the egg industry.

Technical Abstract: Eggs are a safe and nutritious food. In the mid-80s there was an increase in the incidence of outbreaks due to Salmonella Enteritidis (SE). A large percentage of those outbreaks were associated with consumption of eggs or foods that contained eggs. In recent years, efforts to diminish egg-borne illness have been bolstered by a “farm to fork” approach. Poultry improvement plans have been developed and implemented by the egg industry. These plans focus on factors during production that can contribute to the contamination of eggs with SE such as rodent populations. Outbreaks of salmonellosis due to SE have decreased from the incidence peak observed in the late 1980s. Since the late 1990s, several surveys have been conducted concerning consumer knowledge/practices of kitchen hygiene and safe food handling/preparation. Data obtained in these studies have lead several food safety organizations, including the World Health Organization, to launch education programs that focus on consumers. This “food chain” approach, that begins at the farm and ends in the home of consumers, may take food safety to the next level in developed countries world-wide. While efforts to improve egg microbiology continue, it is important to remember that eggs which are properly refrigerated, handled, and cooked are very unlikely to result in egg-borne salmonellosis. This information is important for consumers, regulators, academia, and the egg industry.

Last Modified: 9/23/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page