Food Safety Practices in the Egg Products Industry
We conducted a national census survey of egg product plants (n = 57) to obtain information on the technological and food safety practices of the egg products industry and to assess changes in these practices from 2004 to 2014. The questionnaire asked about operational and sanitation practices, microbiological testing practices, food safety training for employees, other food safety issues, and plant characteristics. The findings suggest that improvements were made in the industry's use of food safety technologies and practices between 2004 and 2014. The percentage of plants using advanced pasteurization technology and an integrated, computerized processing system increased by almost 30 percentage points. Over 90% of plants voluntarily use a written hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) plan to address food safety for at least one production step. Further, 90% of plants have management employees who are trained in a written HACCP plan. Most plants (93%) conduct voluntary microbiological testing. The percentage of plants conducting this testing on egg products before pasteurization has increased by almost 30 percentage points since 2004. The survey findings identify strengths and weaknesses in egg product plants' food safety practices and can be used to guide regulatory policymaking and to conduct required regulatory impact analysis of potential regulations.