Salmonella and eggs: from production to plate

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015 Feb 26;12(3):2543-56. doi: 10.3390/ijerph120302543.


Salmonella contamination of eggs and egg shells has been identified as a public health concern worldwide. A recent shift in consumer preferences has impacted on the egg industry, with a push for cage-free egg production methods. There has also been an increased desire from consumers for raw and unprocessed foods, potentially increasing the risk of salmonellosis. In response to these changes, this review explores the current literature regarding Salmonella contamination of eggs during the production processing through to food handling protocols. The contamination of eggs with Salmonella during the production process is a complex issue, influenced by many variables including flock size, flock age, stress, feed, vaccination, and cleaning routines. Currently there is no consensus regarding the impact of caged, barn and free range egg production has on Salmonella contamination of eggs. The literature regarding the management and control strategies post-collection, during storage, transport and food handling is also reviewed. Pasteurisation and irradiation were identified as the only certain methods for controlling Salmonella and are essential for the protection of high risk groups, whereas control of temperature and pH were identified as potential control methods to minimise the risk for foods containing raw eggs; however, further research is required to provide more detailed control protocols and education programs to reduce the risk of salmonellosis from egg consumption.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chickens*
  • Eggs / microbiology*
  • Food Handling / methods*
  • Food Microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Ovum / microbiology*
  • Poultry Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Poultry Diseases / microbiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Salmonella / physiology
  • Salmonella Food Poisoning / epidemiology
  • Salmonella Food Poisoning / microbiology
  • Salmonella Infections / epidemiology*
  • Salmonella Infections / microbiology
  • Salmonella Infections, Animal / epidemiology
  • Salmonella Infections, Animal / microbiology