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Abstract

Food production, handling, and distribution practices pose a constant threat to the quality and safety of food products. The objective of this research is to evaluate an innovative in-package ozonation process to reduce Salmonella enteritidis on raw, shell eggs. Previous research has shown that in-package ozonation eliminates contaminants from outside sources, reduces pathogens, and extends shelf life. In this study, raw, shell eggs were inoculated with Salmonella enteritidis and exposed to ozonation treatment. Microbial recoveries were then tested to determine bacterial reductions. Measurements included: relative humidity (34 percent at 5oC), surface temperatures (oC), ozone concentrations, bacterial reductions of Salmonella enteritidis, and quality assessment of eggs (Haugh Unit [HU], color, pH, and weight). After a 24-hour storage period, all treated samples indicated 3 log10 reductions on average (previous research has achieved up to 6log10). These results show effective in-package ozonation treatment reducing Salmonella enteritidis on raw, shell eggs without significant effect on measured egg quality over time. Benefits of in-package ozonation include no heating, low power requirements (less or equal to 50 Watts), short treatment time (seconds to minutes), and adaptability into existing processes. Given its ability to ensure the safety and longevity of food products, this technology has great potential for utilization in the food processing industry.