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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 #438890

Research Project: Impact of egg handling and long-term (25wk) storage on eggy physical and microbial quality

Location: Egg and Poultry Production Safety Research Unit

Project Number: 6040-32420-003-007-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jan 1, 2021
End Date: Sep 30, 2023

Two USDA AMS mission critical research projects will be conducted with the incoming funds. USDA ARS will conduct and coordinate the projects in order to provide USDA AMS with data and interpretation to allow for the scientific basis of USDA AMS shell egg standards and procedures. The previous ARS study regarding the storage of shell eggs in various conditions will be expanded to additional room temperature treatments and longer storage period (26 wks vs 15 wks) to meet the need for data in regards to USDA AMS certifying eggs for exports. Additionally, food safety and spoilage bacteria will be monitored throughout the study. This would include monitoring individual shell emulsions and egg contents for: Salmonella prevalence and levels of total aerobes, Enterobacteriaceae, and yeasts and molds. The outcomes of the project will allow USDA AMS to set standards for US egg export certification and ensure worldwide egg trade is conducted on equitable terms. Furthermore, ARS will coordinate an unbiased verification of the newly designed USDA AMS egg sampling program based on instrument enhanced grading in official USDA egg plants. Working with USDA AMS to understand the basis of the new sampling plan and instrument enhanced grading, ARS and Purdue University will develop a verification program and travel to official USDA egg plants to conduct the verification over a 12 month period.

For the extended egg storage study, the published procedures from previous egg physical and microbial quality studies conducted in our laboratories will be utilized. During final study design, USDA AMS egg standards team will be consulted to ensure all needs for AMS policies and procedures are addressed. Once USDA AMS developed the new egg sampling program based on instrument enhanced grading, ARS researchers will design and enact a verification program to provide an unbiased evaluation and conduct it over a 12 month period by visiting USDA official egg plants to gather data.