Washed eggs are blown dry, candled (eggs with blood spots or cracked shells are removed), sized (small, medium, large, extra large, and jumbo), and packaged in cartons or flats. Cartons or flats are placed in cases and cases are palletized. Efficient packaging procedures such as these all but ensure that internal egg temperature increases due to processing will be maintained for several days. In fact, industry surveys have suggested as much as a week is required to dissipate temperature increases due to processing when these packaging procedures are employed.
Federal law requires eggs be stored at an ambient temperature of 7°C. Researchers have found that the growth rate of SE in eggs is directly proportional to the temperature at which the eggs are stored. It has also been found that holding eggs at 4 to 7°C reduces the heat resistance of SE. Thus, it has been suggested that not only does refrigeration reduce the level of microbial multiplication in shell eggs, but it lowers the temperature at which the organism is killed during cooking.
Humidity in the storage environment is important both in maintaining egg weight and preventing microbial growth. Storage relative humidity of < 60% can cause weight loss and a corresponding increase in air cell size. However, storage in a relative humidity of > 80% can promote microbial growth.
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