Location: Egg Safety and Quality
Title: An Alternative Antimicrobial Commercial Egg Washing Procedure Authors
Submitted to: International Association for Food Protection Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 5, 2014
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Presently, commercial eggs are washed with water containing an alkali detergent at approximately pH 11 followed by a chlorine rinse. At this pH, it is likely that there is little, if any, free chlorine in the final rinse to act as an antimicrobial against pathogens like Salmonella. Using a chlorine stabilizer (e.g., Smartwash) in the wash system may help maintain chlorine effectiveness. The objective was to determine the most effective egg wash treatment. A wash treatment using both SmartWash and chlorine at a pH of 6 and the standard alkali wash treatment, both followed by a final chlorine rinse, were compared. The effect of wash water temperature (ambient or 120°F) on both treatments was also compared. Treatments were evaluated based on antimicrobial effectiveness and effect on egg quality. Eggs were washed using the two wash solutions, ambient temperature or 120°F, and evaluated for various egg quality parameters (shell strength, shell stiffness, shell color, Haugh Unit, vitelline membrane strength, and total solids) biweekly over a 12 week period. In the second phase, eggs were inoculated with Salmonella Typhimurium and washed using the 4 treatments. Salmonella levels before and after washing were compared to determine intervention effectiveness. Compared to the alkali wash, SmartWash treated eggs had higher shell strength, Haugh Unit, vitelline membrane strength, and color measurements. Eggs washed at ambient temperatures had greater shell stiffness. No notable differences in total solids between treatments were noted. For both temperature treatments, Salmonella Typhimurium levels on eggs treated with SmartWash were reduced by slightly more than on alkali treated eggs. Total aerobic counts were reduced by >0.5 log more on the Smartwash treated eggs compared to the alkali treated eggs. A chlorine stabilizer like SmartWash could be used as an effective antimicrobial in the table egg industry without compromising egg quality. There are potential energy savings using ambient wash temperatures.