Spent fowl as a source of unintentional egg proteins exposure in Canadian food products

  • Publication date : 2022-09-01


Spent fowl as a source of unintentional egg proteins exposure in Canadian food products (2022). Poultry Science, 102003

Freely available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0032579122002942


The occurrence of egg proteins in products containing spent fowl manufactured under current practices was studied to assess the risk these food products may pose to egg-allergic consumers and to determine if Precautionary Allergen Labelling (PAL) was recommended. Spent fowl slaughtering and processing operations in two Canadian facilities were observed. Raw hen pieces (n=134), coming from two facilities, and intermediate and processed products containing spent fowl (n=57), coming from one facility, were analysed using ELISA. All samples tested positive for egg proteins. Raw pieces were tested using a qualitative method (i.e., swabbing); estimated egg proteins concentrations suggest the presence of highly contaminated samples (> 600 mg/kg in two hen wing samples). Swabbing was found to be efficient for rapid detection of eggs in raw hen pieces, but not for quantification. A comparison between swab and grind results showed that egg proteins concentration is underestimated by at least a factor 2 for whole carcasses and a factor 10 for breast, wings and drumsticks, when using the swab protocol. For intermediate and processed products, quantitative measurements indicate that egg protein levels were below 16 mg/kg. Additionally, 88 water samples from chiller tanks were analysed and indicate that this step could be the cause of the global contamination observed with an increase in egg protein concentrations overtime during the production schedule. As egg contamination is not adequately controlled under the current good production practices, the use of PAL would be recommended for raw spent fowl products.