The effects of commercial cool water washing of shell eggs on Haugh unit, vitelline membrane strength, aerobic microorganisms, and fungi

A. B. Caudill, P. A. Curtis, K. E. Anderson, L. K. Kerth, O. Oyarazabal, D. R. Jones, M. T. Musgrove
2009 Poultry Science  
Current egg washing practices use wash water temperatures averaging 49°C and have been found to increase internal egg temperature by 6.7 to 7.8°C. These high temperatures create a more optimal environment for bacterial growth, including Salmonella Enteritidis if it is present. Salmonella Enteritidis is the most common human pathogen associated with shell eggs and egg products. Its growth is inhibited at temperatures of 7.2°C and below. The objective of this study was to determine if
more » ... washing eggs in cool water would aid in quickly reducing internal egg temperature, preserving interior egg quality, and slowing microbial growth. During 3 consecutive days, eggs were washed using 4 dual-tank wash water temperature schemes (HH = 49°C, 49°C; HC = 49°C, 24°C; CC = 24°C, 24°C; CH = 24°C, 49°C) at 2 commercial processing facilities. A 10-wk storage study followed, in which vitelline membrane strength, Haugh unit, and aerobic microorganisms and fungi (yeasts and molds) were monitored weekly. As storage time progressed, average Haugh unit values declined 14.8%, the average force required to rupture the vitelline membrane decreased 20.6%, average numbers of bacteria present on shell surfaces decreased 11.3%, and bacteria present in egg contents increased 39.5% during storage. Wash water temperature did not significantly affect Haugh unit values, vitelline membrane strength, or the numbers of aerobic microorganisms and fungi within the shell matrices of processed eggs. Results of this study indicate that incorporating cool water into commercial shell egg processing, while maintaining a pH of 10 to 12, lowers postprocessing egg temperatures and allows for more rapid cooling, without causing a decline in egg quality or increasing the presence of aerobic microorganisms and fungi for approximately 5 wk postprocessing.
doi:10.3382/ps.2009-00316 pmid:20008814 fatcat:fqg4vssfgngl3empbyoy3i4v5a