Effects of processing on the microbiology of commercial shell eggs
Musgrove, Michael Thomas
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Since passage of the Egg Products Inspection Act in 1970, there have been many changes in the way shell eggs are processed. Modern operations have been designed to improve external and internal physical quality while maintaining or improving the bacteriological quality of eggs. Currently, egg regulations are being restructured to emphasize safety. Scientific data from commercial operations are required for the design of effective regulations. This information is also of use to the egg industry as they formulate Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plans. Experiments were performed to provide data on how modern processing conditions affect survival of aerobic mesophilic microorganisms, yeasts/molds, Enterobacteriaceae, Escherichia coli, and Salmonella. While none of these populations was eliminated from the shells of processed eggs, microbial prevalence and population numbers were reduced early in the process. Isolates obtained from Enterobacteriaceae analyses were identified to genus or species to determine prevalence and disappearance of bacteria as eggs were processed. All species decreased as a result of processing. Additionally, information was obtained concerning appropriate methods for recovery of aerobes, Enterobacteriaceae, and Salmonella from pre-process, in-process, and post-process egg shells.