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Cryogenic Gas for Rapid Cooling of Commercially Processed Shell Eggs Before Packaging

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Research was initiated to evaluate the effects on egg quality and microbial counts of rapidly cooling eggs by using cryogenic gases. Four trials were conducted utilizing a 2 × 2 factorial design with cryogenic cooling and Pseudomonas inoculation as the main variables. The 1440 eggs used in each trial were evaluated for cracked shells, Haugh units, and albumen pH. Cryogenically cooled treatment groups were successfully cooled from 37°C to 7°C in significantly less time than in a traditionally cooled pallet. The Haugh unit values obtained from traditionally cooled eggs were significantly (P > .001) lower than those from cryogenically cooled eggs. There was no significant difference in the albumen pH of the two groups.

Internal and external bacterial counts revealed significantly fewer bacteria in the interior of cryogenically cooled eggs than in the interior of traditionally cooled eggs. However, after a 30-day storage period at 7°C, no difference was found in external and internal bacterial contamination rates. The results of this trial suggest that rapid cooling with cryogenic gases could be used in conjunction with current commercial egg processing to cool eggs prior to packaging. The successful commercial application of this procedure would reduce egg temperatures as well as the likelihood of Salmonella enteritidis growth in or on eggs. Thus, consumers would be provided with safer commercially processed shell eggs. In addition, the Haugh unit data indicate that rapid cooling with cryogenic gases enhances the quality of commercially processed shell eggs.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695 2: Department of Poultry Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695

Publication date: April 1, 1995

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