Research into cryogenic cooling of shell eggs with carbon dioxide gas shows it is a viable option for improving safety and quality and shelf-life of shell eggs.

The research evaluated a commercial cryogenic egg-cooling tunnel utilizing CO2. After cooling, the eggs were stored for 15 weeks. During that time, egg quality, functionality, CO2 content, shelf-life and microbial levels were measured.

Funded by the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, Tucker, Ga., the study points to the following benefits of rapid egg-cooling:

  • Increased percentage of AA quality eggs after 15 weeks of storage at 45oF (7oC).

  • Prevention of, and in some cases reduced, Salmonella enteritidis (SE) growth in SE-inoculated shell eggs stored up to 15 weeks at 45oF (7oC).

  • No statistical differences in functionality between cryogenically or traditionally cooled shell eggs. Immediately after cooling, CO2 content was higher in the cryogenically cooled eggs, but within two weeks, no CO2 differences were observed.

According to the association, greater safety and quality should have significant economic impact on egg producers.