Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/15/2002
Publication Date: 8/11/2002
Citation: Jones, D.R., Northcutt, J.K., Curtis, P.A., Anderson, K.E., Fletcher, D.L., Cox Jr, N.A., Musgrove, M.T. 2002. Survey of shell egg processing plant sanitation programs: 2. non-contact surfaces. [abstract] Poultry Science. 81(suppl.):14.
Technical Abstract: Direct and indirect contact surfaces are not the only concern for standard sanitation operating procedures (SSOPs) in the shell egg processing industry. Non-contact surfaces can serve as a means of cross contamination. The objective of this study was to assess and compare the efficacy of sanitation programs utilized in a variety of shell egg processing facilities. In-line, off-line, and mixed operations were included. Fourteen different non-contact surfaces were sampled in an assortment of shell egg processing facilities in the southeast U.S. Non-contact surfaces are defined as those where the shell egg does not come into direct contact with the surface or with fluid from that surface. Sterile phosphate buffered saline was utilized to wet each sterile gauze pad for sampling. Samples were collected at the end of a processing day (POST) and again the next morning before operations began (PRE). Total aerobic plate counts (APC) and enterobacteriacae (VRBG) were enumerated. No significant differences were found between POST and PRE bacterial levels for all 14 sampling sites. In general, increased levels of APC were found on the floor under the farm belt (in-line operations) both POST and PRE. The drain had increased APC for all plants during POST sampling. Many facilities reduced these high numbers during sanitation procedures. Increased APC counts were also found on the wheel surface for off-line carts both POST and PRE. The loading dock floor also had increased APC counts both POST and PRE. In conclusion, non-contact surface sanitation counts illustrate the need for better planning for sanitation programs. Changes in movement of equipment through the processing plant could help to reduce the high counts found on floor surfaces. Dedicated pallet jacks and placement of off-line coolers to minimize cart travel in the facility could also reduce floor bacterial counts