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Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2008 Feb;5(1):59-68. doi: 10.1089/fpd.2007.0041.

Evaluating the effectiveness of pasteurization for reducing human illnesses from Salmonella spp. in egg products: results of a quantitative risk assessment.

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U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Office of Public Health Science, Risk Assessment Division, Washington, DC 20250-3700, USA.


As part of the process for developing risk-based performance standards for egg product processing, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) undertook a quantitative microbial risk assessment for Salmonella spp. in pasteurized egg products. The assessment was designed to assist risk managers in evaluating egg handling and pasteurization performance standards for reducing the likelihood of Salmonella in pasteurized egg products and the subsequent risk to human health. The following seven pasteurized liquid egg product formulations were included in the risk assessment model, with the value in parentheses indicating the estimated annual number of human illnesses from Salmonella from each: egg white (2636), whole egg (1763), egg yolk (708), whole egg with 10% salt (407), whole egg with 10% sugar (0), egg yolk with 10% salt (11), and egg yolk with 10% sugar (0). Increased levels of pasteurization were predicted to be highly effective mitigations for reducing the number of illnesses. For example, if all egg white products were pasteurized for a 6-log(10) reduction of Salmonella, the estimated annual number of illnesses from these products would be reduced from 2636 to 270. The risk assessment identified several data gaps and research needs, including a quantitative study of cross-contamination during egg product processing and characterization of egg storage times and temperatures (i) on farms and in homes, (ii) for eggs produced off-line, and (iii) for egg products at retail. Pasteurized egg products are a relatively safe food; however, findings from this study suggest increased pasteurization can make them safer.

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