Egg Product Safety

Egg Processors Boast 40-plus Year Stretch of Food Safety for Pasteurized Product

Food manufacturers can have confidence in the U.S. egg product supply. The first step toward ensuring a safe packaged food is to ensure the basic ingredients are safe as well. The egg product safety record allows food processors to rest in the knowledge that they are using a safe ingredient when including further processed, pasteurized eggs. Egg nutritional and functional power is supplied by nature while its safety record is provided by the farmers’ hard work and conscientious effort to implement best practices.

Congress passed the Egg Products Inspection Act in 1970 which requires that all egg products distributed for consumption be pasteurized to destroy Salmonella. In the past 40-plus years there have been no recorded outbreaks of salmonellosis linked to pasteurized egg products, since the institution of mandatory pasteurization.

This safety record is especially impressive considering the volume of eggs consumed in this country. Of the more than 76 billion eggs eaten annually, slightly more than 30 percent are in the form of egg products, further processed into either a liquid, frozen or dried form.

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.

Egg products are processed in sanitary facilities under a strict system of inspection supervised by the USDA.

Regulations require the use of E-3-A and 3-A Sanitary Standards and Accepted Practices for processing equipment.

They are also applied to determine acceptance of the design of equipment commonly used in both the dairy and egg products industries. These standards were established by USDA and International Association for Food Protection.

Some standards are adaptations of those of the Dairy and Food Industries Supply Association, Inc., and others are unique to the egg industry, such as those for egg-breaking equipment.

For copies of these standards, contact: International Association for Food Protection 

Some of the advantages of refrigerated liquid, frozen, dried, and pre-cooked egg products eggs include:

  • Assurance of a safe product
  • Reduced risk of contamination
  • Extended shelf life
  • Convenience
  • Consistent performance
  • Product stability
  • Functionality

Creating appealing food products with great taste is a challenge enough. Exceed your expectations and take the worry about safety out of your formulation concerns with real egg products.

Watch this video about Egg Product Safety. 

Tour an Egg Processing Facility.

For more information about the pasteurization methods used by the U.S. egg products industry, click here.

Click here to locate a U.S. supplier of REAL egg products.

Common Production Systems

America's egg farmers believe in consumer choice. We work hard to provide you with the highest-quality variety of eggs, no matter what kind of eggs you choose. Following is more information on some of the most common egg production systems.

Most egg farms in the U.S. run more than one production system. Almost all have both conventional and specialty egg production systems operating simultaneously – all committed to providing humane and nurturing environments for their birds.

Depending on your preference, you can spend anywhere from about $1.50 per dozen for conventional eggs, to more than $3.00 per dozen for specialty eggs, which typically cost more to produce.

Conventional Eggs

Eggs laid by hens living in cages with access to feed, water, and security. The cages serve as nesting space as well as for production efficiency. In this type of hen house, the birds are more readily protected from the elements, from disease and from natural and unnatural predators.

Free-Range Eggs

Eggs produced by hens that have access to outdoors in accordance with weather, environmental or state laws. In addition to consuming a diet of grains, these hens may forage for wild plants and insects and are sometimes called pasture-fed hens. They are provided floor space, nesting space and perches.

Cage-Free Eggs

Eggs laid by hens at indoor floor operations, sometimes called free-roaming. The hens may roam in a building, room or open area, usually in a barn or poultry house, and have unlimited access to fresh food and water, while some may also forage for food if they are allowed outdoors. Cage-free systems vary and include barn-raised and free-range hens, both of which have shelter that helps protect against predators. Both types are produced under common handling and care practices, which provide floor space, nest space and perches. Depending on the farm, these housing systems may or may not have an automated egg collection system.

Organic Eggs

Eggs produced according to national U.S. Department of Agriculture organic standards related to methods, practices and substances used in producing and handling crops, livestock and processed agricultural products. Organic eggs are produced by hens fed rations with ingredients that were grown without most conventional pesticides, fungicides, herbicides or commercial fertilizers.

Enriched Colony

A production system that contains adequate environmental enrichments to provide perch space, dust bathing or a scratch area(s), and nest space to allow the layers to exhibit inherent behavior. Enriched colony systems are American Humane Certified.

Take a look at an egg processing plant.

See how shell eggs become egg products. 

 


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