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Int J Food Microbiol. 1994 Jan;21(1-2):31-40.

Contamination of egg shell and contents with Salmonella enteritidis: a review.

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Food Unit, Public Health Laboratory, Exeter, Devon, England, UK.


Salmonella enteritidis can contaminate the contents of clean, intact shell eggs as a result of infections of the reproductive tissue of laying hens. The principal site of infection would appear to be the upper oviduct. In egg contents the most important sites of contamination are either the outside of the vitelline membrane or the albumen surrounding it. In fresh eggs, only few salmonellas are present and as albumen is an iron-restricted environment, growth will only occur once storage-related changes to vitelline membrane permeability, which allow salmonellas to invade yolk contents, have taken place. When this happens high populations are achieved in both yolk contents and albumen. Some eggs from naturally infected hens have been found to contain large numbers of S. enteritidis. The rate of change in membrane permeability is temperature-dependent. In eggs stored at 20 degrees C, yolk invasion is uncommon until eggs have been stored for 3 weeks. In stimulated kitchen conditions where temperatures reached 30 degrees C, salmonellas could grow rapidly after a few days.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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