The new Egg Safety and Quality Research Unit will
work to protect both the health of consumers and the marketability of eggs.
Newly Formed ARS Laboratory Will Focus on Egg
Safety and Quality By
Sharon Durham March 22, 2005
Egg safety, quality and marketability are the focus of a new
Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
laboratory established this year in Athens, Ga.
The new Egg Safety and Quality Research Unit, based at the
B. Russell Research Center, will conduct research to protect both the
health of consumers and the marketability of eggs. Scientists will develop
improved technologies for egg production and processing that will reduce or
eliminate microorganisms that can transmit disease to humans or cause spoilage.
One of the unit's key research goals is to determine how microbial
pathogens infect poultry and cause egg contamination, according to ARS
Gast, the unit's research leader. Additionally, scientists will investigate
how poultry production practices can influence such infections.
Researchers will develop methods to prevent pathogens from infecting
egg-laying poultry, and tests to detect infected flocks and contaminated eggs.
Ultimately, the research may also help improve egg processing practices, which
could reduce microbial contamination while enhancing egg quality.
Researchers in the unit include Gast, veterinary medical officer
Guard Bouldin, microbiologist
Moore, and food technologists
In 2003, an estimated 87.2 billion eggs were produced in the United
States, with about 85 percent of them destined for human consumption, according
to figures from USDA's Economic Research
Service. Per capita consumption of eggs and egg products in 2003 was the
equivalent of 254 eggs, an increase of 19 eggs per person from 1990, ERS
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.