Assessing the impact of egg sweating onSalmonellaEnteritidis penetration into shell eggs
Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) prevalence in eggs is a major concern to the egg industry. Some research has shown that egg sweating can increase Salmonella penetration into egg contents when refrigerated eggs are moved to a warmer temperature. This occurs when eggs are tempered before wash, to minimize thermal cracks. The effect of egg sweating on SE penetration into shell eggs over a 6 week storage period at 4°C was assessed. A 2 × 2 factorial of SE inoculation and egg sweating was utilized. Treatments included (SES) nalidixic acid (NA)-resistant SE inoculated and sweated, (SENS) NA-resistant SE inoculated and not sweated, (NSES) buffered peptone water (BPW) inoculated and sweated, and (NSENS) BPW inoculated and not sweated. Eggs were inoculated with 108 SE. Eggs formed condensation for approximately 17 min in a 32°C incubator. Shell rinse, shell emulsion, and egg contents were sampled then enumerated and assessed for prevalence of SE over a 6 wk storage period at 4°C. After wk 1, the SENS shell rinse had higher SE counts (0.32 log10 CFU/mL) than the other 3 treatments, where no SE was enumerated. A significant week by treatment interaction was found for the shell rinse SE detection (P < 0.05). In subsequent weeks, no SE counts were obtained from the egg shell rinse, shell emulsion, or egg contents. The SENS shell rinses had significantly higher SE prevalence than the SES rinses in weeks 1 (100% vs. 34.3%), 2 (57.6% vs. 22.2%), and 3 (38.2% vs. 11.1%) (P < 0.05). In samples from weeks 4, 5, and 6, there was no difference in SE prevalence between SES and SENS. Egg sweating did not increase SE penetration into the shell emulsion across treatment or week (P < 0.05). The decreasing trend of SE prevalence obtained over the study period indicate that refrigeration is effective at inhibiting SE growth. These results indicate that egg sweating occurring under common US egg handling practices is not harmful to egg safety.