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Method and Apparatus for Pasteurizing Shell Eggs Using Radio Frequency Heating” Inventors..--.. Christopher D. Brunkhorst, David J. Geveke, Andrew B. W. Bigley.

This disclosure is directed to a system for pasteurizing shell eggs. The system includes an egg rotating assembly structured to rotate the egg, and electrodes that are in contact with the egg. The system is structured so that, as the rotating assembly rotates the egg, radio frequency energy is directed to the egg to pasteurize it.  Nearly 200 million “shell eggs” are consumed in the United States (US) each day.

“Shell eggs” are non-powdered conventional eggs that are naturally produced by hens. Shell eggs are among the most nutritious foods on earth and can be part of a healthy diet. However, some unbroken, clean, fresh shell eggs may contain bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. While the number of eggs affected is quite small, 30% of the US population is highly susceptible to bacteria that may be found in eggs. Pregnant women, infants and young children, the elderly, and the immunocompromised are particularly at risk. Shell eggs topped the list of “Riskiest Federal Drug Administration –Regulated Foods" and had the most documented outbreaks from 1990 to 2006. The US Department of Agriculture estimates that pasteurization of all shell eggs in the US would reduce the annual number of illnesses by more than 110,000.

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