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Enterobacteriaceae and related organisms isolated from nest run cart shelves in commercial shell egg processing facilities

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Enterobacteriaceae, including Salmonella, may be recovered from foods and processing facilities. High levels of Enterobacteriaceae in the processing plant environment can be an indication of inadequate sanitation. This experiment was designed to determine if nest run egg carts serve as reservoirs for Enterobacteriaceae. Eggs that are produced by hens not housed in buildings connected to the processing plant are referred to as nest run. Many of these eggs are transported to the plant on carts to be processed. Two plants in the southeastern United States were sampled. On each of 3 visits, 5 shelves on each of 5 carts were sampled (n = 25/visit). A 12 x 12 cm area on each shelf was swabbed with a sterile gauze pad moistened with PBS and transported on ice back to the laboratory. Enterobacteriaceae were enumerated using violet red bile glucose agar incubated at 37°C for 24 h. There was 100% prevalence for Enterobacteriaceae at plant A with an average 3.8 log₁₀ cfu/mL swab diluent. Plant B had 90% prevalence for Enterobacteriaceae with an average 3.2 log₁₀ cfu/mL swab diluent. Two randomly selected isolates from each positive sample were recultured 3 times to increase the likelihood of clonality and were then identified biochemically. Of the 124 isolates analyzed, genera identified were Citrobacter spp., Escherichia spp., Enterobacter spp., Klebsiella spp., Hafnia spp., Kluyvera spp., Leclercia spp., and Salmonella spp. Pseudomonas spp. was the only non-Enterobacteriaceae identified by our methods. This work demonstrates that nest run egg carts serve as reservoirs for Enterobacteriaceae in the shell egg processing environment.
Musgrove, M.T. , Jones, D.R. , Shaw, J.D. , Sheppard, M. , Harrison, M.A.
Includes references
Poultry science 2009 Oct., v. 88, no. 10
Poultry Science Association
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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