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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » ESQRU » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #345597

Research Project: Evaluation of Management of Laying Hens and Housing Systems to Control Salmonella and Other Pathogenic Infections, Egg Contamination, and Product Quality

Location: ESQRU

Title: Impact of egg handling and conditions during extended storage on egg quality

item Jones, Deana
item Garcia, Javier
item REGMI, PRAFULLA - Purdue University
item KARCHER, DARRIN - Purdue University

Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/25/2017
Publication Date: 1/15/2018
Citation: Jones, D.R., Ward, G.E., Regmi, P., Karcher, D.M. 2018. Impact of egg handling and conditions during extended storage on egg quality. Poultry Science. 97:716-723.

Interpretive Summary: Eggs are an economical and nutrient dense food. Due in part to global food supply needs, supply shortages due to poultry disease outbreaks, recalls for safety, and other factors, eggs have become an internationally traded food commodity. Eggs for human consumption are handled and stored differently throughout the world. These differences can lead to regulatory constraints during international trade activities. The issues of concern center around: washing and refrigeration. A study was undertaken to determine the impact of the four prominent egg handling and storage combinations utilized throughout the world: washed; washed, oiled; and unwashed stored at 4°C; and unwashed stored at 22°C. Over 15 weeks, a full battery of egg quality criteria were monitored. The results of this study indicate that refrigeration has the greatest impact on sustaining egg quality. The unwashed eggs held at room temperature experienced a rapid decline in all egg quality factors. The three refrigerated treatments (washed, washed and oiled, and unwashed) were similar in maintaining egg quality. The washed and oiled treatment did experience the lowest rate of cumulative weight loss (0.33 %) compared to the other three treatments. Washed and unwashed refrigerated eggs had cumulative weight loss of approximately 1.5 %, with unwashed room temperature eggs losing in excess of 15 % of egg weight over 15 weeks of storage.

Technical Abstract: The international trade of shell eggs has become more important in recent years in order to feed a growing worldwide population, meet food manufacturing demands, and address supply issues during disease outbreaks or product recalls. The primary barriers for the export and import of shell eggs are: whether to wash eggs and egg storage temperature. The current study was undertaken to compare egg quality factors as influenced by egg washing and storage temperature. Three lots of nest run white shell eggs were collected on consecutive days from a commercial in-line egg production facility. The treatment and storage conditions were selected to encompass the primary egg handling and storage conditions utilized throughout the world: washed; washed, oiled; and unwashed stored at 4°C; and unwashed stored at 22°C. Eggs were assessed weekly from 0 – 15 wk. Percent egg weight loss was greatest for the unwashed 22°C eggs (15.72 %) and least for washed, oiled 4°C (0.33 %, P < 0.0001). Less than 24 h at 22°C had a greater impact on yolk shape measurements decline than 15 wk at 4°C (P < 0.05). After 15 wk average Haugh unit scores for all refrigerated treatments were still Grade A, unwashed 22°C dropped from Grade AA to almost Grade B in 1 wk. Room temperature storage of eggs rapidly declines egg quality. Egg treatment did not impact egg quality factors when stored at 4°C. Washing and oiling eggs before refrigerated storage did suppress the rate of egg weight loss.