Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 6, 2009
Publication Date: March 1, 2010
Citation: Jones, D.R. 2010. Shell Egg Vacuum Loader Cup Microbiological and Physical Quality Changes Associated with the Use of Various Sanitizing Compounds. Poultry Science. 89:564-569 Interpretive Summary: Vacuum loader cups have been identified as bacterial growth niche in shell egg processing. Previous research has identified numerous microorganisms on the cup surfaces in commercial processing plants. A study was conducted to determine the most effective sanitizing compounds to reduce or eliminate bacteria present on the vacuum loader cups and how the physical quality of the cups was affected by the compounds. The sanitizing treatments were: sterile, distilled water; 200 ppm sodium hypochlorite; 200 ppm calcium hypochlorite and 200 ppm peracetic acid. Enterobacter cloacae was utilized as inoculum since it was the most organism most frequently isolated from commercial vacuum loader cups in previous research. The two chlorine treatments produced microbial levels similar to those detected on the clean control vacuum loader cups. The peracetic acid treatment also reduced bacterial loads, but not to the same extent as the chlorine treatments. The distilled water had minimal effect on bacterial reduction. Treating the vacuum loader cups with any of the sanitizing compounds, including distilled water, resulted in increased cup strength compared to the untreated controls. Therefore, the use of 200 ppm sodium hypochlorite or 200 ppm calcium hypochlorite appear to be viable choices as sanitizing compounds for vacuum loader cups in shell egg processing.
Technical Abstract: Studies were conducted to determine the effects of various sanitizing compounds on the microbial and physical quality of shell egg processing vacuum loader cups. The sanitizing compounds utilized were: sterile, distilled water; 200 ppm sodium hypochlorite; 200 ppm calcium hypochlorite and 200 ppm peracetic acid. In the microbial inoculation study, cups were inoculated with Enterobacter cloacae since it was the most common isolate from a commercial study examining the flora found on vacuum loader cups. In all three replicates, aerobic plate counts and Enterobacteriaceae levels were similar for the clean control cups and the cups from the two chlorine treatments. The 200 ppm peracetic acid microbial counts were significantly different from the distilled water results for all three replicates (P < 0.05) and the clean control and chlorine treatments. Physical quality was measured via serial static compression testing utilizing texture profile analysis. The serial compression mimicked the movement of the vacuum loader cups on the processing line. The strength of the vacuum loader cups was enhanced with exposure to any sanitizer treatment, including distilled water, compared to the controls throughout the twenty applications of the sanitizers. Durometer measurements were not consistent in monitoring vacuum loader cup quality and were determined to not be effective assessments for this application. The use of 200 ppm sodium hypochlorite or 200 ppm calcium hypochlorite successfully reduced microbial contaminants, had a positive effect on vacuum loader cup physical quality and should be considered when developing sanitation programs for shell egg processing facilities.