|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 eggs products. FSIS Field Service Laboratories analyze the samples for the presence of Salmonella. Thus, inspectors could sample an egg products production plant as many as seven times per month depending on the number of plant production processes occurring during the month.
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.
Salmonella percent positives decreased from 1995 through 2005 shown in Figure 1a (PDF only), and the Salmonella positives observed from 2006 through 2011 are illustrated in Figure 1b (PDF only).
Figure 1 | Larger Images (PDF)
Table 1 | PDF shows the results by year for the seven product categories. The seventeen years of study results illustrates the noticeable differences in the percent of positive samples among the categories.
Since the beginning of sample collection, FSIS has identified 104 positive pasteurized egg products samples. FSIS obtained serotype information on 89 of these positive isolates. The serotype data are presented in Table 2 | PDF, with Heidelberg and Enteritidis as the most common serotypes followed by Typhimurium.
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:
Food Safety and Inspection Service
Office of Public Health Science
Nisha Oatman Antoine, MPH
Phone: (202) 690-6369
FAX: (202) 690-6364
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