Temperature sequence of eggs from oviposition through distribution: Production - Part 1

P. H. Patterson, K. W. Koelkebeck, K. E. Anderson, M. J. Darre, J. B. Carey, D. U. Ahn, R. A. Ernst, D. R. Kuney, D. R. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During Egg Safety Action Plan hearings in Washington, DC, many questions were raised concerning the egg temperature (T) used in the risk assessment model. Therefore, a national study was initiated to determine the T of eggs from oviposition through distribution. In part 1; researchers gathered data on internal and surface egg T from commercial egg production facilities. An infrared thermometer was used to rapidly measure surface T, and internal T was determined by probing individual eggs. The main effects were geographic region (state) and season evaluated in a factorial design. Egg T data were recorded in the production facilities in standardized comparisons. Regression analysis (P < 0.0001) showed that the R2 (0.952) between infrared egg surface T and internal T was very high, and validated further use of the infrared thermometer. Hen house egg surface and internal T were significantly influenced by state, season, and the state x season interaction. Mean hen house egg surface T was 27.3 and 23.8°C for summer and winter, respectively, with 29.2 and 26.2°C for egg internal T (P < 0.0001). Hen house eggs from California had the lowest surface and internal T in winter among all the states (P < 0.0001), whereas the highest egg surface T were recorded during summer in North Carolina, Georgia, and Texas, and the highest internal T were recorded from Texas and Georgia. Cooling of warm eggs following oviposition was significantly influenced by season, state, and their interaction. Egg internal T when 3/4 cool was higher in summer vs. winter and higher in North Carolina and Pennsylvania compared with Iowa. The time required to 3/4 cool eggs was greater in winter than summer and greater in Iowa than in other states. These findings showed seasonal and state impacts on ambient T in the hen house that ultimately influenced egg surface and internal T. More important, they showed opportunities to influence cooling rate to improve internal and microbial egg quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1182-1186
Number of pages5
JournalPoultry science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008


  • Egg production
  • Egg temperature
  • Shell egg

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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