|Anderson, K - N.C. STATE UNIVERSITY|
|Curtis, P. - AUBURN UNIVERSITY|
|Fletcher, D - UGA|
Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2002
Publication Date: August 7, 2002
Citation: Jones, D.R., Northcutt, J.K., Anderson, K.E., Curtis, P.A., Fletcher, D.L., Cox Jr, N.A., Musgrove, M.T. 2002. Survey of shell egg processing plant sanitation programs: 1. egg contact surfaces. [abstract] Poultry Science. 81(suppl.):14. Technical Abstract: Standard sanitation operating procedures (SSOPs) will be the first step in implementation of new processing regulations for the egg industry. When considering the implications of new SSOPs, it was determined that a complete analysis of shell egg processing facility sanitation programs has not been performed. The objective of this study was to assess and compare the efficacy of sanitation programs utilized in a variety of shell egg processing facilities. In-line, off-line, and mixed operations were included. Sixteen different direct or indirect egg contact surfaces were sampled in an assortment of shell egg processing facilities in the southeast U.S. Indirect contact surfaces are defined as those where water from these surfaces is sprayed onto the eggs. Sterile phosphate buffered saline was utilized to wet each sterile gauze pad for sampling. Samples were collected at the end of a processing day (POST) and again the next morning before operations began (PRE). Total aerobic plate counts (APC) and enterobacteriacae (VRBG) were enumerated. No significant differences were found between POST and PRE bacterial levels for all 16 sampling sites. In general, increased levels of APC were found on the wall of the recirculating water tank both POST and PRE. The re-wash belt had increased APC for all plants sampled. Increased APC counts were also found on the suction cups for the off-line loader. The APC levels for washers and washer brushes were relatively low for most plants sampled. In conclusion, plant sanitation, as determined from direct microbial plating, could be greatly improved. It is also important to note that previous research has found bacterial contamination levels of shell eggs to be extremely low, so stringent SSOPs may not be as necessary for the shell egg industry to produce a safe product.