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Prevalence of High-Risk Egg-Preparation Practices in Restaurants That Prepare Breakfast Egg Entrées: An EHS-Net Study

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Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis (SE) is a common cause of foodborne illness in the United States. Foods prepared with raw shell eggs have often been associated with SE outbreaks. The federal government published the Egg Safety Action Plan in December 1999 that called for reduction of egg-preparation practices that may contribute to the survival and proliferation of SE. In seven states, an interview and brief site evaluation of 153 restaurants that prepare eggs during all hours of operation was conducted by the Environmental Health Specialists Network to determine the prevalence of such practices. Fifty-four percent (83 of 153) of restaurants pooled raw shell eggs not intended for immediate service. These pooled eggs were held a median of 4 h for scrambled eggs, 5.5 h for omelets, and 6 h for pancakes and French toast. Nearly 26% (39 of 152) of restaurants reported storing eggs at room temperature, and 5% (7 of 152) stored eggs on ice or in cold-water baths before cooking. Generally, eggs were cooked to 72 to 83°C, which is above the recommended final cook temperature of 63 to 68°C. Employees reported sanitizing utensils used to prepare eggs less than once every 4 h in 42% (57 of 136) of restaurants. Several areas were identified in which further emphasis might reduce egg-associated SE infections in accordance with Healthy People 2010 goals.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Environmental Health Services Branch, Division of Emergency and Environmental Health Services, National Center for Environmental Health,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway N. E., Atlanta, Georgia 30341 2: Foodborne and Diarrheal Diseases Branch,Division of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton RoadN. E., Atlanta, Georgia 30333 3: Foodborne, Vectorborne and Zoonotic Diseases Unit, Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention and Control,Minnesota Department of Health, 717 Delaware Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55414 4: Environmental Health Specialists Network, CaliforniaEmerging Infections Program, 1212 Broadway, Oakland, California 94612, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2004

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    The Journal of Food Protection (JFP) is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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