FOOD & SAFETY

This message is a reminder about food safety with respect to our eggs. Some of the info below is common sense but we feel we should remind you about some egg handling practices. Salmonellosis is a disease caused by bacteria that can be present in raw or undercooked food. Salmonella enteritidis is a type of salmonella bacteria which can be found outside and inside the egg.

Please be advised that our eggs are not inspected by registered grading facility. To protect yourself from Salmonella infection, refrigerate the eggs, do not eat undercooked eggs, and wash your hands after handling eggs. Having said that, our goal is to provide you with the best egg on the market. The Poultry Research Center takes a number of measures to improve food safety and minimize the risk of Salmonella and other foodborne infections. Our heritage chickens have a comprehensive animal health program developed by Veterinarians. The chickens are vaccinated against Salmonella and other infectious diseases. We test our flocks for Salmonella more frequently than required by regulations. The samples are tested by the Food Safety and Animal Health Division with the Government of Alberta. In the event of a positive test, we will discontinue sales of eggs immediately.

We are part of the national on-farm food safety program, known as Start Clean-Stay Clean™. Under the program, all regulated egg farms in Canada must meet a high standard and are inspected by trained officers employed by Egg Farmers of Canada. We follow strict on-farm biosecurity practices to control the potential entry of pathogens. The entry is restricted, and clothes and footwear are changed and the bottoms of shoes or boots are disinfected prior to entering bird housing areas. Only eggs laid in the clean nests are packaged for sale, not those that are sometimes laid on the floor by our free-run heritage chickens. Only eggs from the nest will reach your table. An additional level of quality assurance we take is egg candling. Automated scanning equipment is used to detect eggs with cracked shells and/or interior defects. During candling, eggs travel along a conveyor belt and pass over a light source where the defects become visible. Defective eggs are removed by trained operators.

COMMON QUESTIONS

What are meat spots?

Most meat spots are tiny pieces of tissue from the hen’s oviduct. They are usually brown in color, and found in the thick albumen, chalazae, or the yolk. They range in size from 0.5 mm to more than 3 mm in diameter. They are sterile and harmless. The spot can be removed with the tip of a knife, if you wish. The incidence of meat spots ranges from less than 3% to 30% or more. It varies with the strain of bird, increases with the age of bird and may be higher in brown eggs. Many meat spots are too small to be detected by candling, especially in brown eggs.

What are blood spots?

Contrary to popular belief, these tiny spots do not indicate a fertilized egg or the presence of a disease. Rather, they are caused by the rupture of a blood vessel on the yolk surface during formation of the egg or by a similar accident in the wall of the oviduct. Less than 1% of all eggs produced have blood spots. Candling methods reveal most eggs with blood spots and those eggs are removed but, even with electronic spotters, it is impossible to catch all of them in the candling process, especially in brown eggs due to the darker color shell. As an egg ages, the yolk takes up water from the albumen to dilute the blood spot so, in actuality, a blood spot indicates that the egg is fresh. Both chemically and nutritionally, these eggs are fit to eat. The spot can be removed with the tip of a knife, if you wish.

Why are some hard-cooked eggs difficult to peel?

Hard-cooked eggs may be difficult to peel if they are very fresh. This is because an egg shrinks inside during storage, which pulls the inner membrane away from the inside of the shell. For this reason, a hard-cooked egg will peel more easily if it has been stored for one or two weeks before it is cooked. After boiling the eggs, crack the shell all over by tapping gently, then hold under running water to make peeling easier. Eggs may also be harder to peel if they are not cooked long enough. Hard cooked eggs should be kept refrigerated and used within one week

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