Submitted to: Midwest Poultry Federation Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 15, 2005
Publication Date: March 15, 2005
Citation: Northcutt, J.K., Musgrove, M.T., Jones, D.R. 2005. Controlling airborne and water contamination of shell egg processing facilities. Midwest Poultry Federation Proceedings. p. 22-27.
For both food safety and quality reasons, distribution and level of bacteria in a food processing environment are of great concern to plant management, regulatory officials and consumers. Two of the primary methods by which bacteria become distributed in a processing plant are air and water. The studies described in this proceeding were conducted in a commercial environment to identify airborne bacteria at various stages of processing and to chemically and microbiologically characterize commercial eggs and egg wash water. Air in three different facilities (in-line, off-line, and mixed operations) was evaluated for total aerobic bacteria, molds/yeasts, coliforms and pseudomonads. Eggs and egg wash water were evaluated from three different in-line facilities. The highest counts for airborne total aerobic bacteria were found in the hen house (5.5 to 5.9 log10 cfu/mL air), and these counts decreased as the eggs progressed to the post-processing coolers (2.5 to 3.3 log10 cfu/mL air). There was very little difference in the yeasts/molds counts throughout the facilities. Counts of airborne pseudomonads were highest in the hen house, farm transition room and behind the egg washers. Temperature of egg wash water ranged from 39.7°C to 44.1°C, and wash water pH varied from 10.0 to 11.4. Total aerobic bacteria were higher on the eggs collected from the first egg washer as compared to counts on eggs collected from the second egg washer. Data provided by the present proceedings will be useful to commercial egg processors for identifying process deficiencies and developing intervention strategies to minimize egg shell contamination.