Reduction of eggshell microbial load of table eggs by ultra-violet treatment
Table eggs are an excellent animal-based food with an important role in human diet. However, eggs are often associated with foodborne illnesses. The aim of this study was to evaluate the commercially available ultraviolet irradiation system incorporated in an egg grading and packing machine, and to compare the number of naturally present microorganisms on eggshells and the number of microorganisms on eggshells after ultra-violet treatment. The study showed reductions of the total number of aerobic microorganisms, Enterobacteriaceae, Escherichia coli, and the number of yeasts and molds on the eggshells, while the pathogenic bacteria, including Campylobacter spp., Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella spp., as well as the number of coagulase-positive staphylococci, were under the limit of quantification on the shells of both not ultra-violet treated and ultra-violet treated table eggs. In conclusion, the 7 s ultra-violet treatment was effective in reducing the bacteria, molds and yeast on the eggshells, which could contribute to better health of consumers.