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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Microbiological and Product Quality Consequences of Housing Laying Hens in Production Systems

Location: Egg Safety and Quality

Title: Salmonella Enteritidis

Authors
item Ricke, Steven -
item Gast, Richard

Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Food Microbiology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: February 7, 2012
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Since the 1980's, public health authorities around the world have continued to report high incidences of human SE infections. In both 2008 and 2009, SE was the Salmonella serotype most often associated with human illness in the US, with more than 7000 cases reported each year. Far more SE cases and outbreaks have been attributed to eggs and egg-containing foods than to any other food vehicle. Between 1985 and 2002, 81% of SE outbreaks in the US were linked to the consumption of eggs. Shell eggs and egg-containing products such as homemade mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce, ice cream, and custards have all been implicated as sources in SE outbreaks. Pooling of eggs, storage at warm temperatures, and inadequate cooking have all been identified as important factors leading to an increased risk of disease transmission, especially when affected foods are served to highly vulnerable populations in day care centers or nursing homes. Because of the widespread distribution of commercially produced eggs, SE outbreaks can be disseminated to large numbers people in diverse locations. Throughout the world, heightened concerns about egg-transmitted SE infections in humans have led to an intensified focus on preventing or controlling SE infections in egg-laying flocks of chickens. Both government regulatory programs and voluntary industry efforts have sought to prevent the production and marketing of contaminated eggs. Although the costs of risk reduction and regulatory compliance for egg producers (which include flock testing, biosecurity, sanitation, rodent and insect control, poultry house cleaning and disinfection, and vaccination) can be very high, the alternative costs associated with SE outbreaks (regulatory interventions, product recalls, reduced market access, diminished consumer confidence and purchasing, and lawsuits by affected consumers) are generally even higher.

Last Modified: 4/17/2014
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