Food manufacturers can have confidence in the egg product supply, as all further-processed and packaged egg products sold in the United States are pasteurized according to strict standards to ensure their safety. Quality control departments require that each and every egg product meets federal, state and internal safety checks. Eggs products make the grade…always.
The egg product safety record assures food processors of the knowledge that they are using a safe ingredient when including further processed, pasteurized eggs. The nutritional and functional power of eggs is supplied by nature, while the safety record is provided by producers’ hard work and conscientious effort to implement best practices.
Government and private industries work together to achieve this safety record, which conforms to the Egg Products Inspection Act that Congress passed in 1970. The Act requires all egg products distributed for consumption to be pasteurized to destroy Salmonella. Since the Act was passed, there have been no recorded outbreaks of salmonellosis linked to pasteurized egg products. This safety record is especially impressive considering that more than 76 billion eggs are consumed annually, with slightly more than 30% in the form of egg products in liquid, frozen or dried form.
The first step in producing an egg product is removal from the shell. This is followed by filtering and cooling to maintain quality while waiting for further processing, which may include the addition of non-egg ingredients, mixing or blending, stabilizing, pasteurizing, cooling, and packaging for freezing or subsequent drying.
“The USDA-approved pasteurization (heat treatment) methods assure food manufacturers that they’re using high-quality, safe egg products. The companies involved in producing egg products conduct thousands of quality assurance tests to be sure harmful bacteria are destroyed during the pasteurization process,” says Dr. Patricia Curtis, Auburn University Professor and Director of the National Egg Processing Center.
FDA regulations require qualifying statements when the terms “no hormones or antibiotics” are declared on labels for eggs. Additionally, no hormones or therapeutic antibiotics are used in the production of eggs for human food. Antibiotics may be used occasionally, but eggs from treated hens are removed from the market for a specified period of time in accordance with applicable regulations.
Although pasteurized refrigerated eggs may have a limited shelf life of a few weeks, both frozen and dried egg products, when properly stored, maintain a stable shelf life for months. It is important that food processors manage incoming raw egg products to keep them safe. For example, frozen egg products should not be allowed to thaw until it is time for immediate use. Refrigerated egg products should always be kept at 40°F or below. Dried egg products should flow freely and not be caked up or hardened, possible signs of degradation. Like all ingredients, further processed egg products should be used well within any expiration dates.
Creating appealing food products with great taste is challenge enough. Exceed your expectations and take the worry about safety out of your formulation concerns with real egg products. For more information about the wide variety of pasteurized, government-inspected, further-processed egg products, contact the American Egg Board, 877/488-6143 or 847/296-7043, or visit www.aeb.org.