Pasteurized Egg Products Considered Safe to EatIn spite of the significant news related to the current egg recall, food manufacturers can have confidence in the egg product supply, according to the American Egg Board, Park Ridge, Ill. But processors must ensure the basic ingredients are safe as well. The egg product safety record allows food processors to rest in the knowledge that they are using a safe ingredient when including further processed, pasteurized eggs. Egg nutritional and functional power is supplied by nature while its safety record is provided by the producers’ hard work and conscientious effort to implement best practices.
The government and private industry work together to achieve this safety record. Congress passed the Egg Products Inspection Act in 1970, which requires that all egg products distributed for consumption be pasteurized to destroy Salmonella. In the past 40 years, there have been no recorded outbreaks of salmonellosis linked to pasteurized egg products, since the institution of mandatory pasteurization.
This safety record is especially impressive considering the volume of eggs consumed in the United States. Of the more than 76 billion eggs eaten annually, slightly more than 30% are in the form of egg products, further processed into either a liquid, frozen or dried form.
“The U.S. egg product supply is among the safest in the world. It is important that the food industry remain vigilant in efforts to further improve the microbiological safety and quality of their products,” says Craig “Skip” Julius, director of innovation, Pierre Foods, Cincinnati, Ohio.
The first step in producing an egg product is removal from the shell followed by filtering and cooling to maintain quality awaiting processing. Further processing may include the addition of non-egg ingredients, mixing or blending, stabilizing, pasteurizing, cooling, and packaging for freezing or subsequent to drying.
“The USDA-approved pasteurization (heat treatment) methods assure food manufacturers that they’re using high-quality, safe egg products. The companies involved in producing egg products conduct thousands of quality assurance tests to be sure harmful bacteria are destroyed during the pasteurization process,” says Patricia Curtis, professor at Auburn University and director of the National Egg Processing Center. FDA regulations require qualifying statements when the terms “no hormones or antibiotics” are declared on labels for eggs. Additionally, no hormones or therapeutic antibiotics are used in the production of eggs for human food. Antibiotics may be used occasionally, but eggs from treated hens are removed from the market for a specified period of time in accordance with applicable regulations.
Although pasteurized refrigerated eggs may have a limited shelf life of a few weeks, both frozen and dried egg products, when properly stored, will maintain a stable shelf life for months.
Some other tips for the food processor to ensure the safety of further processed egg products once received at the plant include:
• Frozen products should show no signs of having thawed
• Refrigerated products should be kept at 40°F or below
• Dried egg products should flow freely and not be caked up or hardened
• Use all further processed egg products well within any expiration dates
For more information about the wide variety of pasteurized, government-inspected, further-processed egg products, contact the American Egg Board, 800/488-6143 or 847/296-7043, or visitwww.aeb.org.
IDFA Joins in Call to Repeal 1099 Reporting MandateThe International Dairy Foods Association is joining more than 1,000 organizations and businesses throughout the country calling for the repeal of a reporting mandate, including the new healthcare law.
According to a letter from IDFA to Congress, the mandate would saddle companies, non-profits and government entities with onerous data-collection requirements and expenses. IDFA encourages all members to send letters to their senators requesting the repeal.
The provision, scheduled to become effective in 2012, would require firms of all sizes to send the Internal Revenue Service a 1099 form for every vendor transaction of more than $600. It is designed to encourage vendors to report all of their income for tax purposes and is expected to raise $17 billion over 10 years. These funds would be used to help pay for costs incurred under the new “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”
“If this provision is implemented, the 1099 reporting mandate will impose substantial paperwork and reporting burdens on the backs of governments, non-profits and businesses, especially small businesses,” states the letter, created by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “This provision will also serve to dramatically increase accounting costs, expose businesses to costly and unjustified audits by the IRS and subject more small businesses to the challenges of electronic filing. In the end, the increased costs will heavily penalize honest taxpayers.”
Instead, many business groups, including IDFA, support an amendment proposed by Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) that would repeal the mandate and redirect a portion of the funds in the new law to preventive care. Others legislators are proposing their own amendments that are scheduled to be voted by the Senate in the near future.