Start Date: Apr 21, 2011
End Date: Feb 27, 2013
This project will promote egg safety by improving processing and intervention strategies in three critical areas. First, the bactericidal effects of critical processing parameters will be determined. Commercial egg wash detergents do an excellent job of cleaning eggs but are less lethal to bacteria when wash water pH is <10. Currently, the sanitizing chlorine solution sprayed onto eggs after washing does not reduce bacterial numbers. Research is needed to document the importance of pH and to identify an effective post-wash egg sanitizer. Second, improved sanitation procedures within processing facilities will be developed. Producing safe food requires a clean processing environment. Documentation is needed of areas and equipment in the processing facility most often contaminated with Salmonella. Such information will assist in development of effective means of removing or killing harmful bacteria. Third, better methods for detecting pathogens in egg processing environments and eggs will be developed. A recent new law requires egg producers to test for Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) in houses and flocks. Rapid, objective tests specific for SE will enable the egg industry in complying with this rule. Analyzing DNA from Salmonella collected at farms, processing facilities, and eggs allow for tracking of important contamination sources. Also, improved testing methods are required for a scientifically-based assessment of how different housing types affect egg microbiology.