Heat Eliminates Campylobacter in Processed Eggs

JAPAN - Campylobacter was isolated from around one-third of samples of unpasteurised liquid whole egg samples and unpasteurised liquid egg yolk samples but not from unpasteurised liquid egg white or pasteurised liquid whole egg samples, according to research from Tokyo.
calendar icon 11 March 2010
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M. Sato and S. Nobuhiro from Q.P. Corporation in Tokyo have published a paper in the latest issue of Journal of Food Protection on the prevalence of Campylobacter in various egg products in Japan.

Samples of unpasteurised liquid egg (whole egg, egg yolk, and egg white) and pasteurised liquid whole egg were collected from egg-breaking facilities in Japan and were tested for the presence of Campylobacter. Isolates recovered were tested for freeze-thaw response, sensitivity to antimicrobials, and heat resistance.

Campylobacter was isolated from 27.9 per cent of unpasteurised liquid whole egg samples and 36.0 per cent of unpasteurised liquid egg yolk samples. No Campylobacter was isolated from unpasteurised liquid egg white or pasteurised liquid whole egg samples.

The contamination levels of Campylobacter ranged from <3 to 240 per 100 ml.

Freeze-thaw response was tested by freezing and thawing liquid whole egg and egg yolk to examine whether those conditions influenced the survival rate. It was shown that freezing and thawing reduced Campylobacter counts.

Sensitivity to all antimicrobials used in this study was observed in 47.6 per cent of the isolates. The most predominant antibiotic resistance profile was similar to that of isolates from chicken. D55°C-values of 0.16 to 0.38 min and 0.47 to 0.84 min were determined for Campylobacter isolates in liquid whole egg and egg yolk, respectively. These values were lower than those reported for Salmonella.

The very weak heat tolerance of Campylobacter indicated that it could be eliminated under the current legal pasteurisation conditions. There is no safety concern for commercially broken pasteurised liquid egg pertaining to Campylobacter contamination, concluded Sato and Nobuhiro.


M. Sato and S. Nobuhiro. 2010. Occurrence of Campylobacter in Commercially Broken Liquid Egg in Japan. Journal of Food Protection, 73 (3): 412-417.

Further Reading

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