An overview of the Salmonella enteritidis risk assessment for shell eggs and egg products

Risk Anal. 2002 Apr;22(2):203-18. doi: 10.1111/0272-4332.00023.


This article summarizes a quantitative microbial risk assessment designed to characterize the public health impact of consumption of shell eggs and egg products contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis (SE). This risk assessment's objectives were to: (1) establish the baseline risk of foodborne illness from SE, (2) identify and evaluate potential risk mitigation strategies, and (3) identify data gaps related to future research efforts. The risk assessment model has five modules. The Egg Production module estimates the number of eggs produced that are SE-contaminated. Shell Egg Processing, Egg Products Processing, and Preparation & Consumption modules estimate the increase or decrease in the numbers of SE organisms in eggs or egg products as they pass through storage, transportation, processing, and preparation. A Public Health Outcomes module then calculates the incidence of illnesses and four clinical outcomes, as well as the cases of reactive arthritis associated with SE infection following consumption. The baseline model estimates an average production of 2.3 million SE-contaminated shell eggs/year of the estimated 69 billion produced annually and predicts an average of 661,633, human illnesses per year from consumption of these eggs. The model estimates approximately 94% of these cases recover without medical care, 5% visit a physician, an additional 0.5% are hospitalized, and 0.05% result in death. The contribution of SE from commercially pasteurized egg products was estimated to be negligible. Five mitigation scenarios were selected for comparison of their individual and combined effects on the number of human illnesses. Results suggest that mitigation in only one segment of the farm-to-table continuum will be less effective than several applied in different segments. Key data gaps and areas for future research include the epidemiology of SE on farms, the bacteriology of SE in eggs, human behavior in food handling and preparation, and human responses to SE exposure.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Computer Simulation
  • Eggs / microbiology*
  • Food Microbiology
  • Humans
  • Public Health
  • Risk Assessment
  • Salmonella Food Poisoning / epidemiology
  • Salmonella Food Poisoning / etiology*
  • Salmonella Food Poisoning / prevention & control
  • Salmonella enteritidis*
  • Software Design
  • United States / epidemiology