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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Egg and Poultry Production Safety Research Unit » Research » Research Project #432611

Research Project: Ascertaining the Microbiological and Functional Characteristics of Domestic and Imported Shell Eggs and Egg Products

Location: Egg and Poultry Production Safety Research Unit

Project Number: 6040-32420-002-005-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 1, 2017
End Date: Sep 30, 2020

The proposed course of research will assess the food safety and product quality of domestic and imported shell eggs and egg products. The prevalence of Salmonella spp. will be determined on all samples. Furthermore, shell eggs will be examined for physical quality measurements. Shell eggs will also be tested for associated functional qualities. All federal requirements for importing shell eggs will be met during the course of the proposed research. Upon completion of this study, there will be a better understanding of the microbial, physical, and functional quality of domestic and imported shell eggs. **Modified from original agreement to only include shell eggs.**

Domestic and imported shell eggs will be received in accordance with all federal requirements. The principal investigator will coordinate with USDA Animal and Plant Inspection Service, USDA Food Safety Inspection Service, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, and the Food and Drug Administration to ascertain each agency’s requirements for the importing of shell eggs and egg products for research purposes. A summary document will be prepared and provided to an egg importer to coordinate importing the shell eggs needed for the study. A variety of domestic shell egg producers will be utilized for the domestic samples. Shell eggs from the US and up to six non-North American countries will be tested during the study period. All shell eggs will be handled similarly and stored for a consistent period of time at 4C. After appropriate sample age has been achieved, Salmonella spp. prevalence will be conducted according to accepted cultural methods (Jones et al., 2016). All assessments will be conducted in triplicate for each sample. Shell egg physical quality will be assessed according to the methods described by Jones et al. (2017). Each egg will be assessed for: egg weight, volume of shell, shell length, shell width, percent length at maximum width, specific density, static compression shell strength, shell elasticity, shell thickness, Haugh unit, albumen height, yolk index, and vitelline membrane strength and elasticity. At least three pools of six eggs each will be formed to determine whole egg solids. Only intact eggs will be sampled for physical quality determinations. A target of 24 intact eggs per sample replicate will be analyzed. Angel food cake analysis will be utilized to examine albumen foaming functionality. Sponge cakes will be prepared with whole egg pools (shell eggs) to assess whole egg foaming. Whole egg pasta will also be prepared to assess the coagulation property of whole egg. Whole egg pools (shell eggs) will be utilized and noodle tensile strength will be measured. The emulsion strength of yolk will be ascertained through static compression testing of fresh mayonnaise. Yolk pools from shell eggs will be analyzed. Shell eggs will also be hard cooked, quickly cooled, and stored at 4C overnight before slicing for texture analysis. Whole eggs will be sliced with a wire rig and maximum force required will be determined. This assessment will provide a consumer perception measurement and results are correlated with water movement within the egg as it ages. **Modified from original approach to only include shell egg assessments.**