The first step toward ensuring a safe processed 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 producers hard work and conscientious effort to implement best practices.
Actually, government and private industry work together to achieve this safety record. 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 37 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% are in the form of egg products, further processed into either a liquid, frozen or dried form.
The first step in producing an egg product is removal from the shell followed by filtering and cooling to maintain quality waiting processing. Further processing may include the addition of non-egg ingredients, mixing or blending, stabilizing, pasteurizing, cooling and packaging for freezing or subsequent to drying.
FDA regulations require qualifying statements when the terms no hormones or antibiotics are declared on labels for eggs. In addition, the terminology 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, will maintain a stable shelf life for months.
Further tips for the food processor to ensure the safety of further processed egg products once received at the plant include:
- Frozen products should show no signs of having thawed
- Refrigerated products should be kept at 40 degrees F or below
- Dried egg products should flow freely and not be caked up or hardened
- Use all further processed egg products well within any expiration dates
And walking hand in hand with the safety record is egg product convenience. Even with the wide variety of standardized further processed egg products available, processors can tailor them to meet specific formulation needs, functionality and shelf life considerations.
In addition, whether refrigerated liquid, frozen or dried, egg products supply an impressive nutritional profile to most processed food products. When properly stored, these processed egg ingredients will maintain a stable shelf life for months.
Some of the advantages of further processed eggs include:
- Assurance of a safe product
- Reduced risk of contamination
- Extended shelf life
- Consistent performance
- Product stability
For more information about the variety of pasteurized, government inspected, further processed egg products, contact American Egg Board, 1-800-488-6143 or 847-296-7043, or visit www.aeb.org.