FSIS Microbiological Testing Program for Salmonella in Pasteurized Egg Products, 1995–2013
The Egg Products Inspection Act (EPIA) was passed in 1970 to provide mandatory inspection of the processing of liquid, frozen, and dried egg products. The EPIA and the associated regulations (7 CFR Part 59) laid out the requirements to assure that eggs and egg products are wholesome and not adulterated, as well as properly labeled and packaged. The Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) Poultry Division administered mandatory inspection of processed egg products under the EPIA. On May 28, 1995, AMS transferred the responsibility for regulating pasteurized liquid, frozen, or dried egg products to the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
Responsibilities assumed by FSIS include:
- performance of mandatory inspection of processed egg products,
- oversight of the residue monitoring program for processed egg products,
- supervision of a Salmonella surveillance recognized laboratory program,
- oversight of the microbiological monitoring program, and
- review and approval of processed egg products labels.
Currently, processed egg products are broken into seven product categories—four liquid and three dried. Each processed egg product has a different time and temperature pasteurization process based upon the composition of the egg product. Each month, inspectors collect one egg sample per process from each plant that produces egg products. FSIS Field Service Laboratories analyze the samples for the presence of Salmonella. Thus, inspectors could sample an egg product production plant as many as seven times per month depending on the number of plant production processes occurring during the month.
Tables. Table 1a shows the results for the seven egg product categories by year from 1995 through 1999, Table 1b shows the results by year from 2000 through 2009, Table 1c shows the results by year from 2010 through 2013, and Table 1d shows the total for all the years combined. The nineteen years of study results illustrate the noticeable differences in the percent of positive samples among the categories.
Yearly summary of Salmonella percent positives in pasteurized egg products:
|1995 -||FSIS began testing pasteurized egg products for Salmonella. The Salmonella percent positive was 1.63%.|
|1996 -||During the second year of the testing program, the Salmonella percent positive was 0.62%. Comparing the results of the first two years, there is a considerable decrease (1.01, or 62%) in Salmonella percent positives.|
|1997 to 2007 -||During this ten-year period, there were moderate fluctuations in the Salmonella percent positives. FSIS detected the highest percent positive in 1999 at 0.82% and the lowest percent positive in 2007 at 0.07%.|
|2008 -||Beginning January 2008, FSIS began reporting microbiological results by collection date as opposed to analysis end date to align FSIS activities with those of their federal partners and to standardize reporting of yearly and quarterly results from the various microbiological verification programs. The results from 2008 onward cannot be compared with results from previous years because of the change in reporting.
The Salmonella percent positive in 2008 was 0.33%.
|2009 -||The Salmonella percent positive was 0.21%. When comparing the results of 2008 (0.33%) with those of 2009 (0.21%), there is a difference of 0.12, or a 36% decrease in Salmonella percent positives.|
|2010 -||The Salmonella percent positive was 0.14%. When comparing the results of 2009 (0.21%) with those of 2010 (0.14%), there is a difference of 0.07, or a 30% decrease in Salmonella percent positives.|
|2011 -||The Salmonella percent positive was 0.28%. When comparing the results of 2010 (0.14%) with those of 2011 (0.28%), there is a difference of 0.14, or a 100% increase in Salmonella percent positives.|
|2012 -||The Salmonella percent positive was 0.19%. When comparing the results of 2011 (0.28%) with those of 2012 (0.19%), there is a difference of 0.09, or a 32% decrease in Salmonella percent positives.|
|2013 -||The Salmonella percent positive was 0.14%. When comparing the results of 2012 (0.19%) with those of 2013 (0.14%), there is a difference of 0.05%, or a 26% decrease in Salmonella percent positives.|
Figures. Figure 1a shows the Salmonella percent positives in pasteurized egg products from 1995 to 2013, which is the time period FSIS has managed the program. Salmonella percent positives decreased from 1995 through 1999 as shown in Figure 1b, the Salmonella positives observed from 2000 through 2009 are illustrated in Figure 1c, and the Salmonella percent positives observed from 2010 through 2013 are illustrated in Figure 1d. The results presented represent the total Salmonella percent positives of all seven egg product categories per calendar year.
Since the beginning of sample collection, FSIS has identified 109 positive pasteurized egg products samples. FSIS obtained serotype information on 94 of these positive isolates. The serotype data from 1995 through 1999 are presented in Table 2a, from 2000 through 2009 in Table 2b, and from 2010 through 2013 in Table 2c and the total sum from all the years from 1995 through 2013 are presented in Table 2d with Heidelberg and Enteritidis as the most common serotypes followed by Typhimurium (including Typhimurium Copenhagen) and Braenderup.
FSIS provides links to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data on the serotypes isolated from human cases of salmonellosis. The reader can easily access the data on both the serotypes found in pasteurized egg products and those causing human illness on the following Web sites:
- Laboratory-confirmed Salmonella isolates from human sources reported to CDC, with the 20 most frequently reported serotypes listed individually, 2011
- Vital Signs: Incidence and Trends of Infection with Pathogens Transmitted Commonly Through Food—Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, 10 U.S. Sites, 1996-2010
Food Safety and Inspection Service
Office of Public Health Science