Document Detail

Comparison of environmental and egg microbiology associated with conventional and free-range laying hen management.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21844274     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
Eggs from alternative production practices are a growing niche in the market. Meeting consumer requests for greater diversity in retail egg options has resulted in some unique challenges such as understanding the food safety implications of eggs from alternative production practices. A study was conducted to determine what, if any, differences exist between nest run conventional cage-produced eggs and free range-produced eggs. A sister flock of brown egg layers was maintained in conventional cage and free-range production with egg and environmental sampling every 6 wk from 20 to 79 wk of age. Aerobic, coliform, and yeast and mold populations were monitored. Environmental microbial levels were not always indicative of egg contamination levels. When significant differences (P < 0.05 and P < 0.0001, dependent on season) were observed among treatments for coliforms, shell contamination levels of free-range nest box eggs and free-range floor eggs were always greater than those of conventional cage eggs, which remained low throughout the study (0.42-0.02 log cfu/mL). Shell yeast and mold levels were significantly greater in free-range floor eggs than in free-range nest box eggs and conventional cage eggs throughout the entire study. Egg contents contamination levels were extremely low for all monitored populations and treatments. Season of the year played a role in both environmental and egg microbial levels. Winter had the lowest levels of all populations monitored for all treatments, except for aerobic free-range floor egg shell emulsions, which were increased (3.6 log cfu/mL). Understanding the differences in microbial populations present on conventional cage-produced and free range-produced eggs can lead to the development of effective cleaning procedures, enhancing food safety.
D R Jones; K E Anderson; M T Musgrove
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Poultry science     Volume:  90     ISSN:  0032-5791     ISO Abbreviation:  Poult. Sci.     Publication Date:  2011 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-08-16     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0401150     Medline TA:  Poult Sci     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  2063-8     Citation Subset:  IM    
Egg Safety and Quality Research Unit, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Athens, GA 30605; and.
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