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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » ESQRU » Research » Research Project #436824

Research Project: Assessing Effectiveness of Sanitation Programs in Egg Processing Facilities

Location: ESQRU

Project Number: 6040-32420-003-003-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2019
End Date: Jul 31, 2022

Recent foodborne outbreak investigations have resulted in extensive sample collection in the implicated shell egg processing facilities by the investigation teams. The FDA investigation reports detail concerns about processing facility cleaning and sanitation practices. Furthermore, Salmonella Braenderup (foodborne outbreak agent) was isolated in the processing facility. In light of current events and with the shift in housing systems (previous sanitation assessment was only eggs from conventional cage housing which has been shown to have different microbial flora than extensive housing systems) there is a need to conduct a broader assessment of current shell egg processing facility sanitation program effectiveness.

1) Assess levels of indicator populations (total aerobes, Enterobacteriaceae, and yeast and mold) on shell egg contact and non-contact surface immediately at the end of the processing day and just before the start of the following morning shift. Collaborating with the proposed institutions will provide a broader sampling footprint than the original research. 2) Assess the prevalence of Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Listeria spp. in the samples to determine the impact of sanitation programs on foodborne pathogens. (Not a component of original research study.) 3) Samples will be submitted with an information form including pertinent processing parameters to a poultry diagnostic research laboratory. Samples will be coded before sending to USDA ARS laboratory. The diagnostic veterinarian will collate information from the submission form and manage laboratory results to remove any potential bias or regulatory concern for the research project.