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"DEVELOPMENT OF A LOW COST, FAST AND SECURE SYSTEM FOR EGG STERILISATION USING AN ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE PLASMA SYSTEM" (EGGSTERILISATION)
Start date: 01 Sep 2008, End date: 28 Feb 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Within the last decade there has been significant growth in the use of egg products for both home and commercial use. The largest egg producing countries are China, the USSR, the US and Japan. The leading EU producers are The Netherlands, Spain, France and Italy. The Netherlands is the largest producer and exporter to EU countries. Despite this market share, various factors threaten EU producers, most prominent of which are zoonotic pathogens, namely Salmonella egg contamination. To date, a number of sterilisation methods exist for disinfecting eggs, including chemical, thermal and radiation methods. However, such treatments are not sustainable given that chemical products can be absorbed by egg shells, contaminate egg content and chemical washing of eggshells is not permitted in the EU for eggs destined for human consumption, thermal processes affect egg content or lead to shell cracking, slow pasteurisation is far too time-consuming for widespread use in the modern egg producing installation and irradiation of eggs is not permitted in the EU. Furthermore, SMEs lack the resources for developing a more advanced egg sterilisation technology. To this end, consortium SMEs have identified a clear need for a cost efficient and effective system for the secure sterilisation of eggs. The proposed EGGSTERILISATION will provide a highly effective system to sterilise eggs using a plasma source, a simple and safe microbial sterilisation technique, and contribute to reducing the high number of infections caused by this bacterium. The commercial objective of this EGGSTERILISATION proposal is to increase the competitiveness of SME egg producers and packers by providing them with a low cost, rapid and effective system that will be suitable for simple insertion into modern production or packing lines, facilitating installation and maintenance, thus saving time and associated costs."
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