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Survey of Shell Egg Processing Plant Sanitation Programs: Effects on Egg Contact Surfaces

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Sanitation standard operating procedures (SSOPs) are an integral component of process control and are often the first step in the implementation of food safety regulations. The objective of this study was to assess and compare the efficacies of sanitation programs used in a variety of shell egg processing facilities. In-line, off-line, and mixed operations were evaluated. Sixteen direct or indirect egg contact surfaces were sampled in various shell egg processing facilities in the southeast United States. Samples were collected at the end of a processing day (POST) and again the next morning before operations began (PRE). Total aerobic plate counts (APCs) were obtained and Enterobacteriacae were enumerated. No significant differences (P > 0.05) between POST and PRE bacterial counts were found for the 16 sampling sites. In general, high APCs were found on the wall of the recirculating water tank both POST and PRE. The APCs for the rewash belt were considerably high for all plants sampled. APCs were also high for the vacuum loaders. APCs for washers and washer brushes were relatively low for most plants sampled. PRE and POST levels of plant sanitation, as determined by direct microbial plating, did not differ significantly. At this point, it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions about how rigid SSOPs should be for the shell egg processing industry.


Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: Russell Research Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, Athens, Georgia 30605, USA 2: Department of Poultry Science, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama 36849, USA 3: Department of Poultry Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695, USA 4: Department of Poultry Science, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30604, USA

Publication date: 2003-08-01

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