Shells of agar-filled and whole eggs were inoculated with 103 to 104 CFU of Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis per eggshell. The agar-filled eggs were used to study bacterial eggshell penetration, and the whole egg results were used to characterize contamination of the egg contents. In each group, half of the eggs were stored for 21 days at 20°C and 60% relative humidity (RH), and the other half was stored for 24 h at 6°C and then for 20 days at 20°C. The latter conditions resulted in condensation on the eggshell for 30 min from the moment the eggs were placed in the 20°C chamber. Taking into account the ages at which hens were studied (39, 53, and 67 weeks), an average of 62% of the eggshells with condensate were penetrated compared with 43% for the control group; this difference was significant (P < 0.01). No significant difference in whole egg contamination was found; 18% of the control eggs were contaminated compared with 22% of the condensate eggs. Whole egg contamination was significantly higher for eggs from the hens at an older age (67 weeks). This difference probably was not due to a higher penetration potential because differences were not observed for the corresponding agar-filled eggs. Condensation on the eggshell seemed to encourage bacterial penetration of the eggshell but had a smaller impact on whole egg contamination.

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