a1 ADAS Microbiology Department, Woodthorne, Wergs Road, Wolverhampton. WV6 8QT
a2 ADAS Poultry Team, Woodthorne, Wergs Road, Wolverhampton, WV6 8QT
a3 ADAS Gleadthorpe, Meden Vale, Mansfield, Notts. NG20 9PD
a4 Silsoe Research Institute, Wrest Park, Silsoe MK45 4HS
a5 Avian Science Research Centre SAC, Ayr, KA6 5HW, United Kingdom
Current European Union legislation prohibits the washing of Class A eggs. This is in stark contrast to countries such as the United States of America and, more recently Japan, which have embraced egg-washing technology. The emergence in the UK of egg associated Salmonella enteritidis as a significant cause of food poisoning has, combined with the increase in non-cage egg production systems, increased interest in technologies that might improve the microbial quality of the egg. This paper reviews the history of egg washing in the European Union and more specifically its restricted use in the UK and contrasts this with its uptake in the United States among other countries. Similarly the technological advances in egg washing are reviewed, in the context of the underpinning science.
(Received August 19 2002)
(Accepted January 23 2003)