Submitted to: Journal of Applied Poultry Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/28/2005
Publication Date: 11/6/2005
Citation: Jones, D.R., Northcutt, J.K. 2005. A survey of common practices in shell egg processing facilities and water use. International Journal of Poultry Science 4(10):734-736.
Interpretive Summary: Water is one of the world's most important natural resources. With the world's growing population, the conservation of water and other natural resources is a major concern. Agricultural production and processing has always relied heavily upon the availability of water to produce clean, safe products for human consumption. The objective of the current project was to identify areas in commercial shell egg processing where future research efforts could be directed to reduce the amount of water needed while still producing a wholesome, high quality product. Survey respondents indicated that a majority of shell egg processing facility rely on wells as their primary water supply. Very few of the respondents utilize any method of water recycling. The size of the facility (cases/hr produced), age of processing line, and length of work week did not affect the amount of water used during processing. The type of operation (in-line, off-line or mixed) did not alter water usage. There are many processing interventions that could be examined in the future to reduce the amount of water utilized during commercial shell egg processing.
Technical Abstract: Shell egg processing facilities in the U. S. were surveyed for common production practices and water use. Results were compiled and analyzed for frequency and significance via chi-square analysis. Of the respondents, 65.75% utilized wells as their primary source of water. Only 19.18% of the facilities discharged water to city sewers. Over half of the facilities processed 7 d each week with 8 to 9 h shifts (P < 0.05). There was a similar distribution of in-line, off-line and mixed operations represented in the responses. Two-thirds of the operations were dual washer systems with about half being plumbed separately. Over 90% of the operations performed daily sanitation. Most facilities did not attempt to recycle water from their process. Fifty percent of the respondents utilized processing lines that are 5-15 yr old. The age of the processing line, number of processing days each week, size of facility and type of operation did not have a significant effect on water use.