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Int J Food Microbiol. 1999 Aug 15;49(3):161-7.

Efficacy of disinfection of shell eggs externally contaminated with Salmonella enteritidis. Implications for egg testing.

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Department of Population Health & Reproduction, University of California, Davis 95616-8743, USA.


Experimental contamination of the surface of shell eggs by dipping in a culture of Salmonella enteritidis resulted in the presence of Salmonella enteritidis in/on the shells as well as shell membranes but not in the egg content. Disinfection with Lugol's solution, chlorhexidine, ethanol, quarternary ammonium solutions or flaming after dipping in ethanol failed to achieve complete decontamination of the shell and membranes with resulting false positives when eggs were broken for culturing of the content. Dipping eggs for three seconds in boiling water resulted in complete destruction of Salmonella enteritidis in shells and membranes but sometimes caused the eggs to crack. A method of aseptically opening eggs without risk of contaminating the content from the shell or membrane was developed. Salmonella enteritidis deposited in/on the shell and membranes did not multiply during storage of the eggs at 20 degrees C for four weeks, the counts seemed to decrease. No Salmonella enteritidis was detected in the contents of any contaminated eggs.

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