There are four defined research objectives of the proposed study. They are to determine if cool water washing of shell eggs alters levels of microbial populations, enhances egg quality, reduces wastewater contamination levels, and provides a positive economic impact for the shell egg industry.
This study will be conducted in two phases. The pilot phase will utilize a mock commercial egg washer developed at RRC. Both control and SE inoculated eggs will be processed at set wash water temperatures. Wash water samples will be analyzed for environmental quality and microbiological safety. During a 60d storage, microbial assessments will determine the penetration rate of SE and total aerobic bacteria. Egg quality will also be monitored. A single cool wash water temperature will be utilized in the subsequent commercial phase. </p>
The commercial phase will be conducted in two in-line shell egg processing facilities with dual tank washing systems. Full pallets of eggs will be monitored for postprocessing cooling rates. Wash water will be evaluated for quality and safety. Eggs will be stored and tested for 70 days. Egg quality and total aerobic bacterial contamination will be monitored at Auburn University. Eggs will be screened for Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria, and mold at RRC.</p>