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Poultry Science





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The Egg Safety Action Plan released in 1999 raised questions concerning egg temperature used in the risk assessment model. Therefore, a national study was initiated to determine the internal and external temperature sequence of eggs from oviposition through distribution. Researchers gathered data from commercial egg production, shell egg processing, and distribution facilities. The experimental design was a mixed model with 2 random effects for season and geographic region and a fixed effect for operation type (inline or offline). For this report, internal and external egg temperature data were recorded at specific points during shell egg processing in the winter and summer months. In addition, internal egg temperatures were recorded in pre- and postshell egg processing cooler areas. There was a significant season × geographic region interaction (P < 0.05) for both surface and internal temperatures. Egg temperatures were lower in the winter vs. summer, but eggs gained in temperature from the accumulator to the postshell egg processing cooler. During shell egg processing, summer egg surface and internal temperatures were greater (P< 0.05) than during the winter. When examining the effect of shell egg processing time and conditions, it was found that 2.4 and 3.8°C were added to egg surface temperatures, and 3.3 and 6.0°C were added to internal temperatures in the summer and winter, respectively. Internal egg temperatures were higher (P < 0.05) in the preshell egg processing cooler area during the summer vs. winter, and internal egg temperatures were higher (P < 0.05) in the summer when eggs were ¾ cool (temperature change required to meet USDA-Agricultural Marketing Service storage regulation of 7.2°C) in the postshell egg processing area. However, the cooling rate was not different (P > 0.05) for eggs in the postshell egg processing cooler area in the summer vs. winter. Therefore, these data suggest that season of year and geographic location can affect the temperature of eggs during shell egg processing and should be a component in future assessments of egg safety.


This article is from Poultry Science 87 (2008): 1187, doi:10.3382/ps.2007-00239.


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