Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Poultry Microbiological Safety and Processing Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #237723

Title: Eggshell bacterial levels of non-washed and washed eggs from caged and cage-free hens

item Buhr, Richard - Jeff
item HANNAH, J
item WILSON, J
item Cox, Nelson - Nac
item Richardson, Larry
item Cason Jr, John
item Musgrove, Michael

Submitted to: European Symposium on Quality of Poultry Meat
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/10/2009
Publication Date: 6/21/2009
Citation: Buhr, R.J., Hannah, J.F., Wilson, J.L., Cox Jr, N.A., Richardson, L.J., Cason Jr, J.A., Musgrove, M.T. 2009. Eggshell bacterial levels of non-washed and washed eggs from caged and cage-free hens. European Symposium on Quality of Egg and Egg Products; Turku, Finland; June 21-24, 2009; EO14. 1-7.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The bacteria levels of non-washed and washed eggs obtained from caged and cage-free laying hens housed on either all shavings or all wire slat floors were determined. On eight sample days (from 22 to 52 weeks at 4 week intervals), 20 eggs were collected from each pen (n=120/sample day). Ten eggs per pen were washed for 1 min with a commercial egg washing solution (50 C, pH 11), while the remaining 10 eggs were not washed prior to sampling the eggshell and membranes (crush-and-rub) for aerobic bacteria (APC), Escherichia coli (E. coli ), and coliforms. Non-washed eggs produced in an all shavings environment had slightly higher bacteria numbers (APC 4.0 and coliforms 1.1 log10 cfu/mL) than eggs produced on slats (APC 3.6 and coliforms 1.06 log10 cfu/mL), which had significantly higher bacteria numbers than eggs produced in cages (APC 3.1 and coliforms 0.88 log10cfu/mL). Washing significantly reduced APC counts by 1.7 log10 cfu/mL of rinsate, reduced E. coli and coliform counts by only 0.5 log10 cfu/mL of rinsate and the prevalence was reduced from 22.5, 17.5, 12.5% (shavings, slats, and cages, respectively) to 6%. No significant differences were found in APC, E. coli, and coliform counts on eggs from the three housing types following washing.