All about eggs

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All about eggs 1

2 | All about eggs

All about eggs The object of this book is to share knowledge about eggs and allow the reader to discover what an exciting product an egg really is. The book offers our customers and other interested parties answers to the multiple questions that we are sometimes faced with, and demonstrates that eggs are not just eggs. At DAVA Foods we are all about eggs – and about ensuring that our customers receive healthy and safe food. Eggs are an indispensable component in cooking, but eggs are much more than just that. With its complex composition of vitamins, minerals and proteins, it is one of nature’s nutritional wonders. In this publication we have summarized some of the knowledge we have about the egg and all its virtues. How can you tell if an egg is old? How long do you boil an egg until it is hardboiled? What are the rules for enriched cage egg production? What vitamins do eggs contain? What about eggs and cholesterol? You will find all the answers and more inside the book. We hope the book will be useful as a reference tool or for inspiration, and that it gives our readers a new understanding of our fantastic and unique world of eggs. Ivan Noes Jørgensen, Group CEO

All about eggs | 3

Table of content ALL ABOUT EGGS

3 INTRODUCTION 4 TABLE OF CONTENT 6 EGG STRUCTURE The eggshell Shell thickness Shell membranes Air cell Egg white Bacterial retardant properties Colour of the egg white Alkaline pH value The yolk The chalazae Colour of the yolk 10 T HE EGG IS FORMED The production period The egg's journey through the hen 13 TYPES OF PRODUCTION Organic eggs Free range eggs Barn eggs Enriched cage eggs Table of productions types 17 TRACEABILITY What the codes mean Trace the farmer Farm gate sales

4 | Table of content

18 Q UALITY AND SAFETY Trade Standards for eggs Quality requirements for grade A eggs Grade B eggs Weight grades Eggs of different sizes in a tray Shelf life Labelling The Salmonella Treatment Programme The salmonella bacteria Symptoms of salmonella infection Salmonella control 22 QUALITY CONTROL OF SHELL EGGS Checking shell eggs, the raw product Checking for cracked eggs Checking for dirty eggs Checking for blood eggs Checking the packaging machine Checking the finished product 25 CHECKING PASTEURIZED PRODUCTS Use of pasteurized products Uniform products Safe products Testing pasteurized egg whites Testing pasteurized whole eggs

26 ORGANIC FARMING Organic egg farming in Denmark Legislation and control Organic farming at DAVA Foods Control procedures at DAVA Foods 28 EGGS AND HEALTH Eggs in brief Nutritional value Rich in/source of Health claims Vitamin A Vitamin D Vitamin E Riboflavin (B2) Niacin Vitamin B12 Biotin Pantothenic acid Phosphorus Selenium Cholesterol Two types of cholesterol Cholesterol in eggs Fat Saturated fat Unsaturated fat Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids

34 PROTEIN Protein intake Amino acids Protein shortage Weight loss and protein Protein health claims 36 S TORAGE Temperature Package date Placing eggs in the fridge Separate storage Storing hard-boiled eggs The egg tray Freezing eggs Environment – pulp vs. plastic 38 KITCHEN HYGIENE Good hygiene in private homes Cool the food Keep track of goods in cold and freezer rooms Tips for avoiding infection The spread of bacteria between raw food materials The spread of bacteria from raw to ready-to-eat food Avoiding the spread of bacteria Handling eggs Handling raw chicken meat

40 EGG PROPERTIES Raising agent Binding agent Thickening agent Emulsifier Clarification agent Colouring agent Facial treatment mask 42 F AQ Fertilized eggs Blood spots The yolk is in the side of the egg Deformed eggshells Dioxin in eggs Feathers on eggs Foreign smell Foreign flavour Murky egg whites No label on the packaging Cracked eggs Meat spots Worms in the egg Spots in the egg white Protein spots Rotten eggs Crumbling shells Dirty eggs Two yolks in one egg Thin egg whites Thin-shelled eggs Egg stuck in the tray

Eggs without yolks Layered egg whites Yolk too thick in consistency Yolk too thin in consistency Metallic taste Decreased whipping ability Mould on the packaging Bulges in the cup 48 INDEX

Table of content | 5

Egg structure THE EGG – PART BY PART

An egg consists broadly of three parts: A shell, an egg white and a yolk. An egg consists of about 2/3 egg white and 1/3 yolk – in larger eggs however, there is relatively more egg white. An egg weighs an average of approx. 60 g. Egg size depends on the hen’s age (the older the hen, the larger the egg), race and weight, as well as on environmental factors such as temperature, stress and the hen’s access to food.

Egg yolk

The eggshell The shell represents about 10 % of the total weight of the egg. It consists mainly of calcium carbonate, with small amounts of magnesium carbonate and calcium phosphate. It is porous: 8-10,000 pores ensure that oxygen can enter the egg and CO2 and other gases can escape. The shell can be white or brown – depending on the breed.


Egg white

6 | Egg structure

A white hen lays white eggs and brown hens lay brown eggs. White hens that lay brown eggs do exist but this breed is currently not being used for production in Denmark. Only the outer layer of the shell is coloured. The brown eggshells contain a pigment called protoporphyrin, which can create a range of colours from yellow to reddish and brown. Shell thickness The shell thickness and thus strength depends on egg size, breed, the age of the hen and feed composition. The content of calcium, phosphorus, manganese and vitamin D are particularly important. The older the hen is, the thinner the shell. The reason is that older hens lay larger eggs, but there is the same amount of shell material available, regardless of egg size. Shell membranes Underneath the shell there is an outer and an inner shell membrane. The outer membrane, which is immediately inside the shell, is the most resistant. Besides serving a protective role, the shell and the shell membranes also have a biological function; namely to regulate evaporation and air circulation, but also to prevent microorgan-

isms from entering the egg. A colourless wax membrane called the cuticle surrounds the outer shell. It is highly alkaline and therefore acts as a bacteriostatic agent – i.e. it prevents bacteria from reproducing. This wax membrane is dissolved by washing, which is why in Denmark it is not allowed to wash eggs before sorting.

Air cell Chalazae Eggshell

Egg yolk

Air cell When the egg leaves the hen, it has a temperature of 39 °C. As it cools, its contents contract, allowing air to penetrate through the shell. In the heavy end of the egg, the outer and the inner shell membrane split apart, and the air cell is formed here. The older the egg is, the larger the air cell, as water continuously evaporates from the egg during storage. Egg white The egg white makes up approx. 60 % of the eggs weight. It consists of 88 % water and 12 % dry matter, primarily protein. The egg white is made of three parts: an inner and an outer liquid layer and in between those a more viscous liquid part. The egg white is heat regulating, adjusts the humidity and supplies nutrition to the chicken foetus. It also prevents

Egg white Chalazae Shell membranes

external bacteria from penetrating the yolk. Bacterial retardant properties The egg white protects the yolk, for example due to its contents of the enzyme lysozyme, which splits the beta-(1.4)- glycoside bond in the cell wall of gram-positive bacteria; this destroys the bacterial cell. The protein ovotransferrin is also a bacteriostatic

agent, in that the binding of iron to ovotransferrin limits the possibilities for certain bacteria’s growth. Colour of the egg white The egg white’s pale yellow-green colour is due to the presence of riboflavin (vitamin B2). Completely fresh eggs contain lots of small air bubbles that can give the egg white a dull milky appearance. This is because of carbon

Egg structure | 7

dioxide that has not yet leaked out through the shell. The older the egg, the more transparent the egg white.

The amount of fat and cholesterol and the composition of the fat are influenced by diet.

Alkaline pH value Egg white is one of the few alkaline food products that exist. In a freshly laid egg the pH value is approx. 7.6, but it increases during the first 1-2 days to 8.6 and then to 9.7. The rate at which the pH value increases depends on the storage conditions. The higher the temperature, the faster the increase in pH value.

The chalazae The yolk is held in place by two screwshaped strands of egg white – the chalazae, which are formed from egg white proteins. The chalazae are most visible in fresh eggs and can be hard to spot in a boiled egg.

The yolk The yolk is a single cell that represents about 28 % of the weight of the egg. The nucleus, called the embryonic disk, can be seen as a small white spot on the outside of the yolk when the egg is opened. The yolk is surrounded by a protective membrane, the vitelline membrane, which becomes weaker the older the egg is. The yolk has much lower water content than the egg white, just under 50 %. About 2/3 of its dry matter is fat and 1/3 is protein. The fat content consists primarily of triglycerides, cholesterol, and the phospholipid lecithin.

8 | Egg structure

Colour of the yolk The diet determines the colour of egg yolk. If the hen is mainly fed yellow and orange-pigmented food, this is the colour that is more prominent in the egg yolk. A relatively colourless feed gives almost colourless yolks. In these cases, the manufacturer often adds a small amount of plant supplements that provide the yolk with the colour that consumers like best – namely golden or lemon-coloured.

The diet determines the colour of egg yolk. If the hen is mainly fed yellow and orange-pigmented food, this is the colour that is more prominent in the egg yolk. 9

The egg is formed STEP BY STEP

The hen begins to lay eggs when it is 18-20 weeks old. The timing of the start of egg-laying depends on genetic and environmental factors, nutritional status, temperature and especially brightness and length of the day. Reduced brightness and day length means that the hens do not lay eggs – or at least not as many in the winter as in the summer – unless there is artificial light in the hen house. The production period A hen is taken out of production at the age of approximately one and a half years. The hen will lay somewhere between 250 and 335 eggs during its production period (depending on the type of production). This corresponds to approximately 16-20 kg of eggs per hen during a production period, which varies from 378 to 413 days. The egg’s journey through the hen Only the left ovary and fallopian tube work in hens. The fallopian tube is approx. 40-80 cm long and is divided into five sections, each with its own function.

10 | The egg is formed


The infundibulum nearest the ovary is 8-9 cm long, funnel-shaped and flexible so that it can pick up the egg (egg yolk) released from the ovary. The yolk is given a membrane – the vitelline membrane – and the strings that keep the yolk in the middle of the egg white (the chalazae) are formed. The egg stays in the infundibulum for 15-30 minutes. This is where fertilization takes place, if applicable.


The magnum is the largest part of the fallopian tube – approx. 30 cm. The egg white is formed here during the 2-3 hours it takes the egg to pass through this section.


The isthmus is approximate 10 cm long. Here the shell membrane is formed over the course of 60-75 minutes.


The uterus is 4-5 cm long. The uterus glands ensure that the egg white is 'inflated' with liquid to its final size while the shell is formed. Mineralization occurs slowly in the beginning. Later, up to 300 mg of shell material is formed per hour. Pigments are deposited last – on the outer shell. The entire process takes 20-26 hours.


The vagina is the outermost 8-10 cm long section of the fallopian tube, which flows into the cloaca to the left of the rectum. The vagina’s mucosa is very adjustable and is pushed with the egg out through the cloaca, so that the egg does not come into contact with the cloaca mucosa. The egg is covered by a thin layer of mucus, which dries and forms a membrane. This membrane prevents evaporation and protects against the penetration of microorganisms. The process only takes a few minutes.

Egg cell

The ovary

The digestive system

The shell is formed

The cloaca

The egg white is formed

The egg is formed | 11

Hens from a barn egg farmer. 12


Eggs for eating are produced in four different production systems: organic eggs, free range eggs, barn eggs or enriched cage eggs. DAVA Foods offers a wide range of shell eggs from the approved production systems. Consumers have the option to choose eggs from categories that comply with official requirements and meet consumer attitudes to animal welfare, price requirements etc. The eggs look similar or identical on the outside, which is why all egg trays are clearly marked to show what type of production the eggs come from. Organic eggs Organically farmed hens must have access to both a barn and an outdoor area. Barns may hold a maximum of 6 hens per m2 of usable area, and there must be at least 18 cm of perch space per hen. In the barn, the hens must also have to have daylight and access to nests. The barn area must account for at least 1/3 of the entire site area and have its floor covered by either straw, wood shavings, sand or peat. Additionally, the hens must also have access to outdoor areas. The outdoor enclosure must offer at least equivalent to 4 m2 per hen, and most of the

soil should be covered in vegetation in order to provide shelter and shade for the birds. Farmers must have more than one enclosure, so that each enclosure can be kept free of hens for at least one year at a time. However, this last requirement does not apply if the total outdoor area is at least 1.5 times larger than the minimum size required to match the number of hens. Beak trimming is not allowed, and all feed must be organic. Free range eggs Free range hens have access an outside enclosure as well as a barn. The barn may hold a maximum of 9 hens per m2 of usable area and must provide at least 15 cm of perch space per hen. No windows are required in free range hen farming barns, but nests are. The foraging area must account for at least 1/3 of the total site area and be covered in either straw, wood shavings, sand or turf. The outdoor enclosure, which the hens have access to during the day, must offer at least 4 m2 per hen, and the soil should be largely covered by vegetation in the form of trees, shrubs or other kinds of living plants. Beak trimming is not allowed; the hens are fed conventional feed.

Barn eggs Barn hens live indoors, where a maximum of 9 hens are allowed per m2 of usable space. The barn must provide at least 15 cm of perch space per hen. No windows are required, but nests must be provided. The foraging area must be at least 1/3 of the site area and be covered in straw, wood shavings, sand or turf. Beak trimming is not allowed; the hens are fed conventional feed. Enriched cage eggs In cage egg production, each cage may contain a maximum of 10 hens, and each hen must have 750 cm2 of floor space. Hens have access to perches, nests and dust bathing. The hens are fed with conventional feed. The Danish trade association has decided that beak trimming should not be used in enriched cage farming.

Types of production | 13


Organic eggs

Free range eggs

Barn eggs

Enriched cage eggs


Max 6 hens per m of useable area. Max. 3000 hens per flock. 3000 hens per flock only allowed in transition periods.

Max. 9 hens per m of useable area in production systems with only one layer. Max. 18 hens per m2 of useable area in production systems with more than one layer. Max. 3 layers.

Max. 9 hens per m of useable area in production systems with only one layer. Max. 18 hens per m2 of useable area in production systems wiht more than one layer. Max. 3 layers.

750 cm2 per hen. Max. 10 hens per cage. Max. 3 layers.

Useable area

Width min. 30 cm. Max 14 % ground slant. Clearance min. 45 cm. Nesting area is not included in the useable area.

Width min. 30 cm. Max 14 % ground slant. Clearance min. 45 cm. Nesting area is not included in the useable area.

Width min. 30 cm. Max 14 % ground slant. Clearance min. 45 cm. Nesting area is not included in the useable area.

600 cm2.

Accessible ground area

Area of ground surface that the hens have unequivocal access to. Clearance min. 45 cm.

Area of ground surface that the hens have unequivocal access to. Clearance min. 45 cm.

Area of ground surface that the hens have unequivocal access to. Clearance min. 45 cm.

Foraging area

Min. 1/3 of the barn's ground surface. Min. 250 cm2 per hen.

Min. 1/3 of the barn's ground surface. Min. 250 cm2 per hen.

Min. 1/3 of the barn's ground surface. Min. 250 cm2 per hen.

There has to be a dust/straw/ sand bath in the cage.

Outdoor area

Min. 4 m2 per hen. Enclosures must be used alternately – unless the outdoor area is at least 1.5 times larger than the minimum requirement. Shelter against weather and predators has to be provided.

Min. 4 m2 per hen and the majority of the area has to be covered by vegetation.




Max. 7 hens per nest (single nests). Max. 83 hens per m2 nest (shared nests).

Max. 7 hens per nest (single nests). Max. 120 hens per m2 nest (shared nests).

Max. 7 hens per nest (single nests). Max. 120 hens per m2 nest (shared nests).

There has to be a nest in the cage.

Beak trimming No.





Min. 15 cm per hen.

Min. 15 cm per hen.

Min. 15 cm per hen.



Min. 18 cm per hen.



Organic eggs

Free range eggs

Barn eggs

Enriched cage eggs

Opening to outdoors

Min. 4 m opening per 100 m barn area.

Min. 2 m opening per 1000 hens. Min. 50 x 50 cm exit holes evenly distributed to the open.




Min. 2.5 cm trough per hen or min. 1 cm water distributor per hen or max. 10 hens per nipple or cup and each hen has to have access to min. 2 nipples or cups.

Min. 2.5 cm trough per hen or min. 1 cm water distributor per hen or max. 10 hens per nipple or cup and each hen has to have access to min. 2 nipples or cups.

Min. 2.5 cm trough per hen or min. 1 cm water distributor per hen or max. 10 hens per nipple or cup and each hen has to have access to min. 2 nipples or cups.

There has to be a suitable water distribution system, so each hen has access to min. 2 nipples or cups.


Min. 10 cm per hen by trough feed. Min. 4 cm per hen by bowl feed. There must be access to roughage feed every day.

Min. 10 cm per hen by trough feed. Min. 4 cm per hen by bowl feed.

Min. 10 cm per hen by trough feed. Min. 4 cm per hen by bowl feed.

Each hen must have min. 12 cm feeding trough.


Sufficient. Min. 8 hours without artificial lighting.

Sufficient. No requirements for windows in the barn. Eight-hour periods of darkness are compulsory.

Sufficient. No requirements for windows in the barn. Eight-hour periods of darkness are compulsory.

No requirements for windows in the barn. Eight-hour periods of darkness are compulsory.


Good and adequate ventilation without drafts. Max. 25 ppm. NH4.

Good and adequate ventilation.

Good and adequate ventilation.

Good and adequate ventilation.


Noise must be regulated.

Noise must be regulated.

Noise must be regulated.

Noise must be regulated.


No requirements with natural ventilation. A requirement with mechanical ventilation.






Example of eggs with code stamps – shown here is an egg from each company within the DAVA Foods group. 16


All eggs sold for human consumption are stamped with a code indicating the production system, country and manufacturer. These codes make it possible to trace eggs back to the farmer. The code is also the consumer’s guarantee that the eggs are produced in a given country and under a given production system. It is illegal to market eggs without codes.

Example Each egg must have a code. It can look like this:

This is an organic egg

The farmer’s ID number

0 DK 12345 This egg is produced in Denmark

What the codes mean All eggs from DAVA Foods are stamped with the following code: A number for the type of production: 0 = organic eggs 1 = free range eggs 2 = barn eggs 3 = enriched cage eggs The country code (‘DK’ for Denmark, ‘EE’ for Estonia, ‘FI’ for Finland, ‘SE’ for Sweden) and manufacturer identification code.

Trace the farmer Consumers can find the farmer who produced their eggs by referring to the code and looking it up online. On the websites of the individual companies in the DAVA Foods group you can look up the codes and find the farmer who supplied the egg.

Farm gate sales Eggs bought at farm gate sales are not considered to be ‘marketed’ and therefore do not need to be coded. When consumers buy eggs at farm gate sales, they know who the farmer is and which production system the farmer uses. Egg farmers may sell directly to the consumer provided that the eggs have not been graded into quality or weight classes, that the sale takes place at the farm where the eggs are produced, and that there is no other egg-packing plant on the property. A ‘best before’ date is required; this can take the form of a note left in the tray. There must be signage at the point of sale informing customers that the hens are subjected to salmonella control.

Traceability | 17


All eggs produced by DAVA Foods are subject to EU law and the rules set out in ‘The Trade Standards for Eggs’. The Trade Standards sets out requirements for egg quality, weight grades and shelf life and for the coding of eggs. Moreover, Danish eggs are subject to ‘The Danish Salmonella Control Programme’ and ‘Salmonella Control’. The Trade Standards for eggs Eggs fall into two grades, A and B. Grade A eggs are reserved for consumers and grade B eggs go to industry customers for processing. From here they may reach consumers in various ways. Quality requirements for grade A eggs Grade A eggs must meet the following requirements ·· The shell must be undamaged ·· T he air space must not exceed 6 mm in height ·· T he yolk must be located centrally in the egg ·· T he egg white must be clear and transparent ·· Imperceptible germ development

18 | Quality and safety

·· T here must be no foreign matter in the egg ·· No ‘foreign’ smell Grade B eggs Grade B eggs are eggs which fail to meet the quality requirements of Grade A eggs. They are not shipped out directly to consumers, but are instead sent to manufacturers for processing. Grade B eggs may be eggs with blood spots in them, dirty or cracked eggs, or fail to meet Grade A requirements in other ways. Weight grades Eggs are graded by weight. According to Trade Standards, the weight grades are as follows: XL = 73 g and more L = 63 g-73 g M = 53 g-63 g S = 52 g and less Eggs of different sizes in a tray The Trade Standards allow manufacturers to pack eggs of different sizes in the same tray, so it is not uncommon to see trays labelled with sizes grades such as S/M, M/L or L/XL. These trays always indicate the minimum net

weight. Packing companies pack trays of mixed sized eggs to utilize the eggs optimally. Shelf life Eggs have a shelf life of 28 days from the day they are laid. According to The Trade Standards, eggs must be packed within 10 days of being laid. The eggs must be labelled with a ‘best before’ date. Labelling requirements state that eggs with only 7 days left to go before the ‘best before’ date must be removed from the shelves. The packing company may choose to state the date of packing and expiry date on the label, too. The Trade Standards also make it possible for manufacturers to sell eggs as ‘extra fresh up until 9 days after the eggs have been laid.

Quality and safety | 19

DAVA Foods quality labels

Companies may label their organic products with the EU Organic logo. In Denmark, the Danish Organic Label (‘Ø-mærket’ in Danish) may also be added to the product. This label is one of the most recognized organic labels in Denmark. In Sweden, KRAV is the most recognized label on organic products, signifying that the egg producers comply with special requirements for organic egg production. Our Swedish organic egg farmers are all approved to carry the KRAV label on their products.

KAT, the Association for Controlled Alternative Animal Husbandry, is the most important inspection body in Germany and neighbouring EU countries for the scrutiny of eggs from alternative forms of hen rearing (free range, barn and organic rearing). Several of the DAVA Foods farmers are KAT certified.

Products labelled with the DAVA Foods country specific logo is the consumer's guarantee that the eggs in the tray are produced in the respective country. This is DAVA Foods’ seal of approval.









20 | Quality and safety






KAT certification


Organic labels

Labelling Food manufacturers can choose to apply a range of different consumer information labels to their products – provided, of course, that the products in question qualify for those labels. For example, the EU organic farming logo guarantees that the product has been organically farmed. The Salmonella Treatment Programme All eggs in Denmark are subject to ‘The Danish Salmonella Treatment Programme’. Since 1991, the Danish poultry industry has monitored all eggs produced and traded commercially in Denmark, and the first ‘Danish Salmonella Treatment Programme’ was launched in 1996. The programme has been regularly revised and expanded, most recently in 2008. The purpose of the programme is to ensure targeted efforts at all stages of production, e.g.: ·· Minimizing salmonella in all stages of the breeding pyramid so that salmonella is not passed on from generation to generation. ·· H eat treatment of all feed to kill any salmonella bacteria.

·· F ocus on hygiene in the production, including cleaning and disinfection between each batch of animals in the building and ensuring that the staff change their clothes, wash their hands etc. to avoid contamination from the outside.

Symptoms of salmonella infection The typical symptoms of a salmonella infection are: general malaise, diarrhoea, stomachache, nausea, vomiting and/or fever. Infections may also cause pain in the joints, muscle pain and headache.

The Salmonella Treatment Programme involves continuous monitoring for salmonella and ensures that various measures are taken if the bacteria should be detected in eggs or hens.

If you think you might be infected with salmonella, you should consult a doctor and have a stool sample tested as verification of any infection.

The salmonella bacteria Salmonella is a pathogenic intestinal bacteria found in nature and in the manure of many animals. It spreads from animal manure, soil, water and crops. It can also be passed on from the hen to the egg, which means that the chick can be infected when it is hatched. Humans can be infected through these sources, but are mostly infected by food contaminated with the bacteria. There is a risk of getting infected by eggs, poultry, pork, beef, raw vegetables, unpasteurized milk, seafood etc. The salmonella bacteria thrives particularly well at temperatures between 25-40 °C.

Salmonella control According to Danish legislation, egg manufacturers are required to submit eggs and bird stool samples every 2 weeks to check for salmonella. Stool samples are analyzed to reveal whether the hens are infected with salmonella or not. Packing companies are monitored in order to check that tests are submitted on schedule, and test results are checked to ensure that no eggs pose a risk to the consumer.

Quality and safety | 21

Quality control of shell eggs EGGS ARE CHECKED FOR CRACKS, DIRT AND BLOOD

The Trade Standards stipulate a quality tolerance on grade A eggs, stating that the number of eggs with quality defects may not exceed 5 % when sending them out. There is a 7 % tolerance for discrepancies in other chains of the trade. The quality control of grade A eggs are carried out by collecting samples as each manufacturer’s eggs are received at the packing company. Each packing machine has built-in sensors to ensure that the eggs are checked for cracks in the shell, dirt, or blood. The machine also tests the weight of the eggs, and finally the packaging machine and the finished products are checked once a week in accordance with the company’s quality management system. Checking shell eggs, the raw product At the manufacturer a sample of the eggs is taken twice a week to ensure that they comply with the requirements of The Trade Standards and the internal requirements laid down for the quality of the raw product. The following aspects are monitored: ·· S hell surface roughness and purity. This is checked visually. ·· Air cell height, measured using an

22 | Quality control of shell eggs

air cell measuring instrument. The height must not exceed 6 mm. Eggs marketed as ‘extra fresh’ can have air cells of no more than 4 mm. ·· Y olk colour is assessed visually using the ‘Yolk Colour Fan’. ·· E gg white height, measured using the Haugh unit, must be greater than 60 %. At the same time the egg white is tested for how fluid and solid it is. Having at least two weekly pickups ensures that the eggs are fresh when received at the packing company. Checking for cracked eggs The packaging machine uses a sound detector to check for cracks in the eggshell. The egg is ‘hit’ in three places by a stamp with a microphone at the end. Each egg is hit four times in those three places. The reflected sound then determines whether the shell is intact or not. Checking for dirty eggs The packaging machine uses cameras to detect if an egg is dirty. Each egg is photographed from multiple angles and the result is compared to a standard image stored in the machine’s programme. Of course, different standards are used for white and brown eggs.

Checking for blood eggs The machine uses fluoroscopy to checks whether the eggs contain blood, by measuring the colour red in the light. Checking the packaging machine The quality department checks the packaging machine weekly. The procedure falls into two parts: Are there any eggs among the Grade A eggs that ought to have been removed? And have any good-quality eggs been deselected. A run of 180 cracked eggs is done while sorting out dirty and blood eggs. Trays of pre-packaged eggs from each of the lines are taken through the packaging machine. From the sorting parameters of the packaging machine, it is determined whether the sorting is acceptable. The Trade Standards are used to determine whether the quality of the packaged product is acceptable. Checking the finished product The finished product is checked by having an employee open trays and containers of eggs to check them for cracks and dirt. The results are logged and used to ensure compliance with The Trade Standards’ quality tolerance regulations.

It is possible to check the freshness of an egg by breaking it. A fresh egg has a high and curved yolk. The white is divided in two: a thick white surrounding the yolk and a thinner more liquid white on the outside.The yolk of an older egg is more flat and the white is thinner and more liquid.


Egg whites are tested regularly by whipping them – both with and without sugar. 24


Legislation requires bacteriological analyses of pasteurized products. Further bacteriological and chemical analysis and testing of product are also carried out to ensure consistent product quality and customer satisfaction. Use of pasteurized products The general rule is that pasteurized products must be used for dishes that are not heated above 75 °C (the point where the salmonella bacteria is eliminated). Because of the risk of salmonella, restaurants, canteens and institutions are not allowed to use raw eggs in dishes – unless the eggs are served individually as soft-boiled eggs, fried eggs or raw egg yolks on opentop sandwiches. Therefore, there is a market for pasteurized products. Uniform products Pasteurized products are made to a recipe that helps ensure uniform products. The production process measures the dry matter content, which is where all the nutrients and other elements are found. Having uniform dry matter is important for product functionality. The pH value of the product is measured to determine

the acidity of the product: an important consideration for e.g. products that contain preservatives, as the pH affects the effect of the preservative. Where products involve the addition of salt, salt contents are checked. Product viscosity (its thickness) is also checked. Safe products A sample of each batch of pasteurized products is taken. The sample is sent for microbiological analyses. In accordance with EU law, the products are analysed for salmonella and enterobacteriaceae. Ready-to-eat products are also analyzed for listeria. Salmonella and listeria are pathogenic bacteria, i.e. bacteria that induce sickness. Enterobacteriaceae is an entire family of bacteria, some of which are pathogenic and some that are not. The products are also analysed for TPC (Total Plate Count); TPC indicates the quantity of microorganisms in the product.

of whether the egg whites’ properties are preserved during pasteurization: can they form aerated foam? And will the structure of the foam carry ingredients such as sugar? Testing pasteurized whole eggs At DAVA foods the baking abilities of pasteurized whole eggs are tested continuously and compared with the abilities of fresh eggs. When eggs are pasteurized, their properties change compared to fresh shell eggs. The temperature affects the proteins and their binding ability. It is therefore important to identify the optimum temperature in the pasteurization process to ensure that the whole eggs’ properties stay as close as possible to those of fresh shell eggs – while also ensuring that the product is not a bacteriological risk factor.

Testing pasteurized egg whites Egg whites are regularly tested by whipping them – both with and without sugar. This is done to get an indication

Checking pasteurized products | 25


Organically farmed food is becoming ever more popular. For example; in Denmark one in four of all the shell eggs we supply retail chains at present is organic, and the demand looks set to grow even greater. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of environmental and health issues, and at the same time the organic food sector focuses on product development and branding. This has helped prompt growing interest in organic products. Health, caring for the environment and animal welfare are among the key parameters that consumers emphasize when buying organic products. Organic egg farming Scandinavia has spearheaded the movement towards organic farming and organic food in many areas, and eggs are a prominent part of this evolution. All organic eggs supplied by DAVA Foods are guaranteed to have come from hens that have been bred and reared organically from the time they themselves were eggs. The young chickens have access to outdoor areas from the age of nine weeks, which means that they do not need to learn how to use outdoor areas and facilities later.

26 | Organic farming

Organic production is characterized by the following distinctive traits: ·· An emphasis on preserving and improving soil fertility ·· No use of artificial fertilizers or pesticides ·· Livestock must be able to display natural behaviour ·· Livestock must have sufficient room in stables ·· Livestock must have access to outdoor areas such as fields or enclosures. ·· A number of procedures are not permitted, such as tail-docking of pigs or beak trimming of chickens ·· Very restrictive regulations on the use of medicines for livestock ·· No genetically modified plants and microorganisms (GMOs) allowed ·· Using as few additives as possible when processing organically farmed foods An organic farm must interact with its setting in ways that affect its surroundings as little as possible and that offer the best possible protection for wildlife and plant life. Organic farming must show the greatest possible con-

cern for the environment and animal welfare from farm to table. This means that the animals must have living conditions that accommodate their natural behaviour and needs, and that farmers do not use pesticides or artificial fertilizers. Farmers must be officially certified as organic in order to brand and sell their products as organic, which means that their fields must first undergo a two-year transition process. During these two years all crops must be grown in accordance with organic regulations, but the products cannot be sold as organic. They can only be sold as organic after the two-year period has elapsed and the farm is certified as organic Legislation and control Organic production is subject to legislation and control that ensures that the production and products are in keeping with organic principles. Organic production is subject to EU legislation and to specific Danish and Swedish legislation. At the same time organic foods must meet all the demands laid down in standard food legislation on labelling, production

methods, etc. Every link of the organic food production chain is subject to extensive control in order to ensure and maintain consumer trust.

plants, and offer access to a series of seasonal crops, fallen fruit etc. Preventing stress among the hens is a key consideration.

Enterprises that produce organic foods will be checked at least once a year. Enterprises must take great care to keep organic and standard produce separate; if they fail to do so they may lose their right to trade organic goods. Farmers who are transitioning to organic farming will also be checked each year to ensure that the transition is carried out correctly.

At least three times a year DAVA Foods visits participating farms in order to discuss opportunities and challenges. If the farmers fail to meet the specific requirements regarding good animal welfare, their right to produce eggs for the various organic concepts can be immediately revoked.

Organic farming at DAVA Foods Working in co-operation with all its suppliers of organic eggs, DAVA Foods has developed several custom organic concepts. The eggs sold through these concepts are aimed at consumers who prefer organic produce, are concerned about animal welfare and want to know where their food comes from. The special concepts must comply with a range of requirements that go beyond the legislative demands on organic egg production. The outdoor areas must provide plenty of shelter, include living

DAVA Foods has initiated voluntary welfare screenings at organic egg producers while using the same methods employed by government officials. Check-ups at organic farmers are carried out at least once a year, for example to prevent feather pecking and to promote general wellbeing in the flocks.

Control procedures at DAVA Foods It is crucial for DAVA Foods to maintain the highest quality throughout the entire value chain from farm to table. DAVA Foods wishes to safeguard its reputation as a company that supplies safe, high-quality foods. For this reason the company monitors and checks all links in the chain from farm to table. This means that in addition to the required official checks, DAVA Foods carries out its own quality assurance measures for organic farmers and their products in order to ensure that they supply the best products possible.

Organic farming | 27


When we hear the word ‘vitamin bombs’, most of us think of fruits and vegetables first. However, eggs actually contain ALL the minerals, vitamins and trace elements that the human body needs, except for vitamin C. Furthermore, egg contain lots of protein of the very best kind. Eggs in brief Eggs are very nutritional: they contain most of the nutrients we need in our diet. In fact, eggs contain all the vitamins, minerals and trace elements that our bodies require, except for vitamin C. Chickens make their own vitamin C, and for this reason eggs contain no vitamin C. This is hardly surprising: vitamin C is almost exclusively found in vegetable foods such as fruit, berries, vegetables and potatoes. Eggs contain protein, fat, vitamins and minerals that nourish the body. Minerals and vitamins are used for vital functions in the body, while fat and protein ensures that the body remains mobile with fully functional organs. Egg protein contains an excellent combination of amino acids, which means that human beings can process a lot of the protein found in an egg. This makes

28 | Eggs and health

eggs a good source of protein of great biological value. Eggs contain nine none-essential amino acid that the body forms itself, and nine essential amino acids that the body cannot form, but which must be ingested. All this means that eggs fully deserve the designation ‘vitamin bombs’.

Saturated fat Unsaturated fat Protein Water


Whole eggs

Nutritional value per 100 g Energy [kcal: 314] Protein, total [NCF: 6.25] Fat, total [FACF: 0.830] Saturated fats Monounsaturated fats Polyunsaturated fats Carbohydrates, total Carbohydrates, available Ash Water Vitamin A Vitamin D Vitamin E Vitamin K Vitamin B1, thiamine Vitamin B2, riboflavin Niacin Vitamin B6 Pantothenic acid Biotin Folate Vitamin B12 Sodium, Na Potassium, K Calcium, Ca Magnesium, Mg Phosphorus, P Iron, Fe Cobber, Cu Zink, Zn Iodine, I Manganese, Mn Chrom, Cr Selenium, Se Nickel, Ni

Egg yolks

Egg whites

kJ g g g g g g g g g

594 12.6 9.9 2.6 3.8 1.8 0.8 0.8 0.9 75.8

1312 15.9 26.5 7.1 10.2 4.7 3.6 3.6 1.7 52.3

205 10.9 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.7 0.7 0.6 87.6

RE µg α-TE µg mg mg NE mg mg µg µg µg

208 1.75 1.8 0.3 0.070 0.450 3.05 0.120 1.6 25 21 2.0

610 4 5.2 0.7 0.220 0.400 3.36 0.300 4.40 60 51 3.34

0.000 0 0 0 0 0.450 2.91 0.002 0.20 0 7 0

mg mg mg mg mg mg mg mg µg mg µg µg µg

140 130 40 13 210 2.0 0,07 1.4 21 0.46 0.465 23.3 0.686

48 109 100 14 540 5.5 0.16 3.8 57 0.097 2 30 4

166 163 5 11 15 0.02 0 0.03 1.9 0 0 6 0.6

29 | Æg og sundhed

Content per 100 g


% of RI

Vitamin A


800 µg

26 %

Vitamin D


5 µg

35 %


12 mg

15 %

Riboflavin (B2)


1.4 mg

32 %


Vitamin E

Rich in

Source of x

x x x


16 mg

19 %


Pantothenic acid


6 mg

26 %




50 µg

50 %


Vitamin B12


2.5 µg

80 %




700 mg

30 %




55 µg

42 %


*RI = reference intake, formerly GDA


Health claims Rich in: Foods can be described as rich in a particular vitamin or mineral if it contains up to 30 % of the reference value per 100 g Source of: Foods can be described as a source of a particular vitamin or mineral if it contains up to 15 % of the reference value per 100 g Vitamin A Found in eggs, salmon, milk, melon, carrots and tomatoes. Vitamin A promotes bone health, good vision and boosts the body’s immune system. Eggs are a good source of vitamin A, providing 26 % of the recommended daily dose, which is 800 µg. Vitamin D Found in eggs, margarine, cheese, fish and milk and is formed in the body when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D supports muscle function, teeth and bone health and the immune system. Eggs are rich in vitamin D, containing 35 % of the recommended daily intake of 5 µg. Vitamin E Found in eggs, avocado, nuts, olive oil,

rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, wholegrain bread and spinach. Vitamin E is necessary to promote good circulation, tissue growth and healing and helps protect cells against oxidative stress. Eggs are a source of vitamin E, offering 15 % of the recommended daily intake of 12 mg. Riboflavin (B2) Found in eggs, herring, chicken, muesli, bananas, broccoli and beets. Riboflavin supports normal skin, normal vision, a normal metabolism and reduces fatigue. Eggs are rich in riboflavin, offering 32 % of the recommended daily intake of 1.4 mg. Niacin Found in eggs, herring, chicken, muesli, bananas, broccoli and beets. Niacin contributes to a normal metabolism, healthy skin and reduces fatigue. Eggs are a source of niacin, offering 19 % of the recommended daily intake of 16 mg. Vitamin B12 Found in eggs, herring, chicken, muesli, bananas, broccoli and beets. Vitamin B12 contributes to a normal metabolism, normal formation of red blood cells and a normal immune

system; it also reduces fatigue. Eggs are rich in vitamin B12, offering 80 % of the recommended daily intake of 2.5 µg. Biotin Found in eggs, liver, beans, oatmeal and mushrooms. Biotin supports the metabolism, hair and skin. Eggs are rich in biotin, offering 50 % of the recommended daily intake of 50 µg. Pantothenic acid Found in eggs, meat, wholegrain products, broccoli and beans. Supports the conversion of food into energy, our mental faculties and reduces fatigue. Eggs are a source of pantothenic acid, offering 26 % of the recommended daily intake of 6 mg. Phosphorus Found in eggs, pumpkin seeds, nuts, beans, cheese, dairy and meat. Phosphorus supports the metabolism and bone and teeth health. Eggs are rich in phosphorus, offering 30 % of the recommended daily intake of 700 mg. Selenium Found in eggs, fish, shellfish, beans, nuts, garlic and milk. Selenium contrib-

Eggs and health | 31

utes to the normal formation of sperm cells, hair and nails and to maintaining the immune system. Eggs are rich in selenium, offering 42 % of the recommended daily intake of 55 Âľg. Cholesterol Cholesterol is a key component of all cell membranes. Most of cholesterol in the body is produced in the liver. Approximately 80 % of the cholesterol in blood is produced by the body itself, while the remaining 20 % come from foods. Only animal foods contain cholesterol. Two types of cholesterol There are two types of cholesterol: LDL and HDL. LDL is a harmful kind of cholesterol that can cause hardening of the arteries. HDL is a beneficial kind of cholesterol that has a protective effect in blood. The ratio between LDL and HDL affects your potential risk of hardening of the arteries and embolisms. LDL cholesterol levels can be lowered by means of diet and medication. HDL cholesterol levels can be elevated by means of exercise and dietary changes. Cholesterol in eggs Egg yolks contain cholesterol. In

32 | Eggs and health

the past eggs have been strongly condemned as a source of elevated cholesterol levels. However, new research shows that dietary cholesterol does not constitute the main risk factor in terms of heart disease: saturated fats, including transfats, have a much more dangerous impact on cholesterol levels in blood than the consumption of cholesterol in e.g. eggs. Fat The body needs fat, but not all kinds of fat are equally healthy. Fat is divided into two main categories: saturated and unsaturated fat. Hjerteforeningen (The Danish Heart Association) offers a simple rule for distinguishing between the two types of fat: the unhealthy saturated fat hardens and becomes solid in the refrigerator, whereas the healthier unsaturated fats remain liquid. Saturated fat Eggs contain low levels of saturated fat. Saturated fat elevates cholesterol levels and contributes to hardening the arteries and blood clots. The main sources of saturated fats are animal products such as dairy, beef and pork. A diet rich in saturated fat increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

However, animal foods should not be avoided altogether: they also contain protein as well as important vitamins and minerals. Unsaturated fat Eggs contain high levels of unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fat lowers cholesterol levels and counteracts hardening of the arteries and blood clots. Unsaturated fats can be divided into monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. In addition to providing fuel for the body, monounsaturated fats also help build cell membranes to promote optimum cell function. Polyunsaturated fats perform many important functions in the body: for example, they build cell walls and nerves and help the production of hormones. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids Eggs contain omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. The two fatty acids are among the polyunsaturated fatty acids, also called ‘the good fat’. They are important for optimal fat metabolism in the blood and may prevent hardening of the arteries in contrast to the saturated fatty acids, which increase the risk of thrombosis and atherosclerosis.

Eggs and health | 33


It is common knowledge that athletes take protein supplements to increase muscle mass and improve their ability to recover after strenuous exercise. But everyone benefits from protein: it is necessary to build and maintain body cells and muscle tissue. Protein is also a nutrient capable of inhibiting digestion and regulating blood sugar, hunger and energy levels, thereby improving the body’s performance. Protein helps build and maintain muscles, organs, connective tissue, skin, bones, teeth, blood and DNA. Quite simply, proteins are crucial to our growth. Protein intake The Danish health authorities recommend that the average adult should consume 0.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight a day. The greater your level of physical activity, the more protein you should eat. Studies also show that a diet involving a daily protein intake of 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight has a positive effect on your BMI and waistline, thereby also reducing the risk of developing diseases associated with obesity. Taking in enough protein throughout

34 | Protein

the day is important, but mornings and evenings are particularly crucial. While we sleep at night we are fasting, so it is important to give the body enough energy to function well through the night. In the morning your energy stores must be replenished so that your body can maintain constant blood sugar levels and produce new energy. Amino acids Eggs are full of protein and contain all the essential vitamins and minerals that humans need (cf. Rapport om protein, Jens Lund). Proteins are made out of twenty different amino acids. Out of these twenty different amino acids the human body produces eleven; these are called non-essential amino acids. The remaining nine are called essential amino acids, which reflects the fact that they should be ingested every day. Animal foods, including eggs, contain the highest protein levels of all foods, and animal proteins are regarded as complete proteins because they contain all nine essential amino acids. Three of the essential amino acids are known as branched chain amino acids. Branched chain amino acids can be transformed into all other amino acids,

and this makes them entirely essential for building new muscle tissue. Protein shortage Determining whether the body lacks protein can be difficult. A shortage of protein will usually manifest itself as malnutrition or a lack of energy; it can impair muscle function and cause a sense of fatigue. The body does not store protein like it stores fat and carbohydrates, which means that you need to take in protein regularly every day to keep your immune system stable. Weight loss and protein The body expends more energy on breaking down proteins than on breaking down fats and carbohydrates. This is why eating lean protein can assist weight loss. At the same time protein keeps you feeling full for longer. When you exercise, the body spends up to 48 hours recovering. It is important to feed your body protein within this 48-hour window if you want to derive the full benefit of your exercise. The branched chain amino acids in protein also help reduce the delayed-onset muscle soreness that can arise after strenuous exercise.

Protein health claims Foods can be defined as a protein source if at least 12 % of their kilojoule content comes from protein, and they can be described as high in protein if at least 20 % of their kilojoule content comes from protein. Eggs fully comply with these claims and may therefore be acknowledged to be rich in and an excellent source to high quality protein.

Protein | 35


If eggs are stored properly, their freshness can be extended considerably. This is true at the manufacturer’s, during shipping and not least at the consumer’s home. Proper storage is partly about correct temperatures, location in the fridge, use of egg trays and taking the optimum precautions in relation to bacterial protection. Temperature ‘The Trade Standards’ have no official requirements for storage temperature, but recommends that eggs are stored and transported at a constant temperature. However, eggs must not be cooled to below 5 °C. Danish legislation requires eggs to be stored at a maximum of 12 °C. If you comply with these requirements, the quality of the egg will decrease very slowly. At DAVA Foods, eggs are kept in cold storage at temperatures between 5 to 12 °C at all stages – from the manufacturer, during transport and as raw and finished products. Package date The egg tray indicates the packing date and ‘best by’ date so that consumers can easily see the age of the

36 | Storage

egg. If the egg is kept at the correct temperature, the expiration date offers a very clear indication of how fresh the egg is. Placing eggs in the fridge The middle shelf in the fridge is the best place to keep eggs. If kept in the fridge door, the egg’s temperature can fluctuate with the opening and closing of the door, making it harder to keep them fresh. In addition, eggs stored in the fridge door are at extra risk of being broken. Separate storage It is important to keep eggs and other foods that entail a risk of salmonella infection separate from other foods. Raw meat, eggs and similar foods should be stored separately from ready-to-eat food, and we recommend using different kitchen utensils for different foods. Storing hard-boiled eggs Hard-boiled eggs can be stored for up to a week in the fridge, whether peeled or not. But they should be placed in a plastic container to prevent them from absorbing odours from other foods in the fridge.

The egg tray The safest place to store eggs is in the egg tray. Made of recycled paper or plastic, an egg tray prevents the egg from breaking – for example when the fridge door is opened and slammed shut – and from absorbing strong odours from other food in the fridge through the thousands of small pores in the shell. In the tray, the egg is also protected against loss of liquid through its pores. Freezing eggs Pasteurized whole eggs and egg whites can be frozen. The products should be defrosted in the fridge and used immediately after defrosting. Frozen pasteurized whole eggs and egg whites can be used for baking when heating is necessary after freezing. Freezing egg yolks is not recommended.

Environment – pulp vs. plastic At present there is a strong focus on the environment and often the question of how plastic trays affect the environment is asked, particularly in regard to greenhouse gases and climate change. The supplier of plastic trays for DAVA Foods has carried out a study of the comparison of polystyrene (PS), recycled PET (RPET) and recycled moulded pulp trays. The study includes a life cycle analysis and a survey of the carbon footprint.

The study mapped the greenhouse gasses for the production of raw materials, prodution of egg trays, packaging, transportation of egg trays and disposal of waste. The main conclusion of the study is: ‘Based on the assumptions and results that have come out of the study, it is not possible to crown a winner out of any of the three materials.’ It is not possible to highlight either plastic or pulp trays as being more environmentally friendly.

A life cycle analysis identifies all the factors that have an impact on the environment. Examples of factors are: energy for the manufacture of raw materials, transport, energy for machines that manufacture the product and waste management.

Storage | 37


Good kitchen hygiene is important to avoid health hazards from the food you prepare. This applies to private homes and industries alike. Good hygiene in private homes ·· H eat food properly (to temperatures of at least 75 °C) ·· Dishes containing eggs should always be heated to at least 75 °C. However, this does not apply to eggs served individually, for example soft-boiled eggs and pasteurized eggs. For dishes that do not reach a minimum temperature of 75 °C you should use pasteurized eggs. Cool the food Hot food should be cooled down quickly. The food should be cooled so that the temperature drops from 65 °C to 10 °C in less than three hours. If the cooling happens too slowly, pathogenic bacteria may start growing in the food. A single bacteria can turn into more than 1,000 in just three hours. To cool food down quickly, it is often necessary to divide large portions – such as stocks, sauces and meat dishes – into smaller portions. Always place the food to cool down immediately after it has stopped steaming. You may need

38 | Kitchen hygiene

to take active steps to cool larger portions of food. This can be done with a bain marie, a fan or cooling cabinet. Good hygiene in food businesses When food is stored in a fridge or cold room, the cold inhibits bacterial growth in the food. The temperature of cold rooms should be in accordance with the applicable laws and/or the relevant temperatures stated on food labelling. This means 5 °C as a starting point. Freezers must be -18 °C or lower. You should check that these temperatures are maintained at all times; this reduces the risk of growth of pathogenic bacteria in the food. Keep track of goods in cold and freezer rooms Always ensure good air circulation in cold rooms and be careful not to overcrowd the space. Food should be placed so that raw foods do not come into contact with ready-to-eat food. It may be necessary to use separate cold rooms for different types of food. Tips for avoiding infection: Food can become contaminated with bacteria through direct or indirect contact.

Contamination can spread: ·· f rom raw food material to raw food material ·· f rom raw food material and ready-to-eat food ·· via kitchen utensils and hands The spread of bacteria between raw food materials Bacteria can be spread by direct contact, for example when vegetables are contaminated with soil and soil bacteria. During the slaughter process meat can come into direct contact with the faeces of the animals’ intestinal tract and be contaminated with bacteria. Bacteria can also spread between different raw food materials. Meat, for example, can become contaminated with soil bacteria if it comes into direct contact with vegetables that have soil attached to them. Vegetables can become contaminated with intestinal bacteria from meat. The spread of bacteria from raw to ready-to-eat food Bacterial contamination may occur if raw and ready-to-eat dishes are not kept separate. If ready-to-eat cooked dishes, which are often cooked and

have very low contents of bacteria, come into contact with bacteria from raw meat, raw eggs or raw vegetables, this may lead to very unfortunate consequences. Bacteria transferred from raw materials to ready-to-eat products face no significant competition from other bacteria. This makes it easier for any pathogenic bacteria to spread in the ready-to-eat products – especially if the products are stored outside cold storage facilities for a period of time. Avoiding the spread of bacteria through kitchen utensils and hands Bacteria can spread via utensils, surfaces and hands. If utensils that have been used for raw eggs are used for vegetables immediately, those vegetables – such as salads – may be contaminated by bacteria from the eggs. In order to avoid the spread of bacteria you must be careful to clean the utensils, machines, hands, etc. between each work process. Furthermore, you can use different workstations and utensils for meat and vegetables. Dishcloths, tea towels, towels, aprons, etc. can also spread bacteria; they must be kept clean and replaced frequently.

Handling eggs In the case of eggs, scalding egg prior to use can minimize the risk of transmitting bacteria. Handling raw chicken meat Maintaining good kitchen hygiene when handling raw meat is essential. Separate raw and prepared foods at all times. Chicken must be heated to minimum 75 °C. Remember to wash your hands between various work processes.

Also remember to clean your utensils.

Kitchen hygiene | 39


In addition to the egg being a healthy and filling food in itself, it can also be used in many other contexts. For example, it is an indispensable ingredient in most food and baking recipes. Raising agent When egg whites are whipped, they hold air. This makes them particularly useful for cooking gratin, mousses, meringues and roulades. The best results are achieved when the egg whites are at room temperature. Binding agent When egg are heated they bind various ingredients together. An egg can bind twice as much liquid as its own volume. This property is a plus for getting the right texture of meatballs, meatloaf, pancakes and the like. Thickening agent The egg yolk’s ability to thicken liquids is used in ice cream, cake cream and sauces. The yolks are whipped with a little salt in a bowl. Bring the sauce to a boil in the saucepan. Pour a little of the hot sauce into the bowl with the eggs and mix together. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir the yolks into the hot sauce. Do not allow the sauce to

40 | Egg properties

boil when the eggs are added – otherwise it will break. Emulsifier The egg yolk’s ability to emulsify is used mainly when making mayonnaise and bearnaise or hollandaise sauce. Just keep in mind that the sauce must not boil, or it will break as the yolk cooks at high temperatures. Clarification agent Egg whites can make a murky soup or fruit juice clear. Add a little egg white while heating up the mixture, and the impurities in the soup or juice will bind themselves to the proteins, which can then be filtered out. Colouring agent Bread and pastries get a delicious golden glossy surface colour when brushed with a little whisked egg. Facial treatment mask The protein in egg whites cleans pores, firms the skin and gives facial skin nutrition without chemicals. Egg whites can be used as a cleansing mask: Put the egg white in a small plastic container with a lid. Apply egg white on slightly damp facial skin. Let the mask

dry and wash it off. Put the lid on the container and repeat as needed (egg whites should be stored in the fridge for no longer than two weeks).

Egg properties | 41


The fact that an egg is not just an egg is evident from some of the inquiries that come from our customers. Several factors give rise to questions, and in this section we offer some answers. Fertilized eggs Customers should not encounter fertilized eggs as all male chicks are removed when sorting the hatched chicks. However, in organic production, there is still a view that the presence of a rooster in the flock is good for the general welfare. Sometimes blood in the yolk will lead consumers to believe that the egg is fertilized, but this is not the case. The phases of a fertilized egg are quite distinctive. It takes 21 days to hatch an egg. See pictures.

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 1

42 | FAQ

Day 5

Day 6

Day 10

Day 14

Day 18

Day 7

Day 11

Day 15

Day 19

Day 8

Day 12

Day 16

Day 20

Day 9

Day 13

Day 17

Day 21

FAQ | 43

Blood spots Sometimes blood spots occur in eggs. Blood spots originate from damage to the hen’s ovary and are mainly hereditary. Vitamin A deficiency also plays a role. A bright spot of blood means that the egg is fresh, while it will be less clear in an older egg because of dilution with water. The yolk is in the side of the egg Eggs should stand with the pointy end down, because this keeps the airspace located at the top of the egg. If the air cell is at the bottom of the egg, it will eventually move toward the top, pushing the yolk off to the side of egg as it moves. Deformed eggshells Sometimes egg shells can be ruffled and uneven. This can occur if the hen has had a cold (had IB infectious bronchitis), and it is completely harmless. Dioxin in eggs Dioxin is a group of chlorinated toxins formed by the incineration of waste and various industrial processes. Dioxin is harmful to humans. In EU legislation, limits are imposed on the

44 | FAQ

amount of dioxin that may be in food. Dioxin can be found in eggs when hens are fed with feed wiht high levels of dioxin. Since dioxin is found in the air, either as vapour or bound to particles, it can be transported over long distances. It may end up on fields with crops and thereby end up in the feed too. Since dioxin binds to fat, it will be located in the yolk. Food authorities in the EU regularly test for dioxin in food. If excessive dioxin levels are detected, an alarm goes out to the other EU countries. At DAVA foods we carry out a screening of our manufacturers’ eggs twice a year. Feathers on eggs Hens moult and grow new feathers from the time when they are 22 weeks old until they are around 30 weeks. During this period you may find some feathers on the eggs, and if the farmer does not pay attention prior to delivery to the packing station, the feathers pass through the packaging process. There is no blowing device on the packaging machines, which means that feathers can be present in the finished product.

Foreign smell Eggs can absorb odours from other foods. They should not be stored with strong-smelling foods such as smoked fish, onions, pungent cheese and citrus fruits. Eggs can also absorb odours in the barn systems, for example if ammonia levels are high due to ventilation errors. In this case, the eggs will have a chemical or ‘barn-like’ smell. Inside the barns, the air is kept at negative pressure for ventilation purposes. In free range and organic production, where hens have access to the outside, the ventilation programme must compensate accordingly to avoid excessive pressure and insufficient ventilation. Foreign flavour The flavour of an egg can be affected by other foods. Foods that give off a strong odour – such as smoked products, onions and citrus fruits – should not be placed in the immediate vicinity of eggs. The feed also has an impact on egg flavour. Feed manufacturers strive to make mixtures that are optimized for each hen type, and this should prevent any contamination of taste.

Murky egg whites Egg whites may appear murky if they have been frozen. No label on the packaging Labels are applied automatically to egg trays. Trays without labels can occur if the tray has had two labels attached before. In addition, errors may occur when stopping the machine. The employees at the packing station monitor the trays, but of course mistakes can occasionally happen. Monitoring is done at the automatic packing stations, and any unlabelled trays are rejected. Cracked eggs The packing machine identifies cracked eggs by means of sound and discards them. If you happen to find an egg with cracks in the shell, the cracks may have formed during transport, in-store or on your trip home from the store. Meat spots A meat spot is a foreign body in the egg. A meat spot can be caused by a blood clot that has been transformed into connective tissue, by a piece of

ovary or by a little residual yolk from the preceding egg embedded in the following egg. Normally the size of a meat spot is 0.5-3 mm. Meat spots are sometimes mistakenly confused with a fertilized egg. Worms in the egg Worms in eggs can occur if the hen that has laid the egg is heavily infected with worms. Worms are liable to migrate from the intestine and become encased in the egg. If an infestation is discovered in a flock, the manufacturer must initiate treatment. Spots in the egg white Spots in the egg white can be protein spots. These will typically be grainshaped. Spots can also be caused by blood extract from the yolk; this can occur if the hen is startled. Protein spots Protein spots in the egg are small deposits of shell pigment in the egg white. In brown eggs the spots are brownish, and in the white eggs they are whitish, making them quite difficult to see. The spots are completely harmless.

Rotten eggs The egg manufacturers collect eggs from the hens every day, and usually no eggs get left behind. However, in alternative production systems (barn, free range and organic eggs) eggs can sometimes remain hidden for a time and begin to rot because of the temperature. These eggs will not be discovered by the packaging machine unless they are dirty, or are red on the inside and removed as blood eggs. Crumbling shells If you see a shell that seems to be crumbling or brittle, this is most likely due to disease in the hens. If hens have the flu (IB – infectious bronchitis) the shell formation may become disrupted. Dirty eggs The Trade Standards stipulate a quality tolerance of maximum 5 % of eggs with quality defects when shipped, and a 7 % tolerance for minor defects in other chains of the trade. This is why you may occasionally find a dirty egg, i.e. an egg with a little dirt on the shell. The dirt detector uses four cameras to monitor the eggs from all sides (the

FAQ | 45

detector’s ‘eyesight’ is twice as good as that of a human being!). If you find a dirty egg in your egg tray, the machine has made a mistake – they are not 100 % accurate. Two yolks in one egg Sometimes you find two yolks in the same egg. The two-yolked eggs are often laid by young hens whose egg production cycle is not yet fully in place. Some hens lay eggs with two yolks during their entire egg-laying period due to genetic factors. A fertilized egg with two yolks will never turn into twin chicks, as the eggshell’s oxygen supply capacity during the hatching period is not sufficient for more than one chick. Thin egg whites Egg whites become thinner with age as the pH value in the egg increases. Storing the egg in the fridge will extend the egg’s aging process. Thin-shelled eggs When a hen produces eggs there is only a set amount of calcium available for the formation of the shell. This means that when eggs become larger, which occurs with age, the shell becomes thinner.

46 | FAQ

Egg stuck in the tray Eggs can become stuck in the tray because of breakages. The egg mixture seeps out and makes the egg stick to the egg tray. Eggs can break during packing, transport, in storage or in the shop. Eggs without yolks In extremely rare cases you may find an egg without the yolk. This typically only happens at the beginning of a hen’s egg-laying period. Layered egg whites Egg whites can very rarely appear layered if the hen that laid the egg is sick. Yolk too thick in consistency Pasteurized yolks that have been through a double heat treatment (pasteurization) have a thicker consistency. The yolk’s thickness also depends on the degree of homogenization. Yolk too thin in consistency The consistency of the yolk depends on the water content in the yolk. Metallic taste Pasteurized egg products with preservatives may sometimes have a

metallic taste. The taste is caused by the preservative: even when used in quantities below the value limits set by the EU, consumers may occasionally detect a metallic tang. Decreased whipping ability The utensils and bowls used to whip eggs must be clean and have no soap residue; grease or dirt may have an adverse effect on the whipping ability of egg whites. The whipping ability of egg whites also depends on the freshness of the whites: the fresher the white, the better the whipping ability. Mould on the packaging If the lid is not screwed properly onto the bottle, or the foil is not welded properly onto the cup, oxygen can enter the product and cause a risk of growth. Bulges in the cup Primarily seen in egg whites. Oxygen released from products travels to the top of the cup and makes the foil bulge up. To counteract this, trisodium citrate is added to the egg whites. For cups containing whole eggs, yolks or egg whites that are stored at room temperature, the foil will also bulge.

Did you know that ...? 1 whole egg corresponds to 50 ml 1 egg yolk corresponds to 20 ml 1 egg white corresponds to 30 ml

FAQ | 47


Air 15, 44 Air cell 7, 22, 44 Alarm 15 Alkaline pH value 8 Amino acids 28, 34 Area 13, 14, 26, 27 Bacteria 7, 21, 25, 36, 38, 39 Bacteria retardant properties 7 Barn eggs 13, 14, 15 Beak trimming 14 Binding agent 40 Biotin 29, 30, 31 Blood egg 22, 45 Blood spot 18, 44 Branched chain amino acids 34 Bulges in the cup 46 Chalazae 7, 8, 10 Checking for blood eggs 22 Checking for cracked eggs 22 Checking for dirty eggs 22 Checking pasteurized products 25 Checking shell eggs, raw product 22 Checking the finished product 22 Checking the packaging machine 22 Cholesterol 8, 32 Clarification agent 40 Cloaca, the 11 Code on the egg 16, 17 Colouring agent 40 Colour of the egg white 7 Colour of the egg yolk 8, 9, 22 Cracked eggs 18, 22, 45 Crumbling shells 45 48 | Index

Danish Organic Label 20 DAVA Foods quality labels 20 Decreased whipping ability 46 Deformed eggshells 44 Digestive system 11 Dioxin 44 Dirty eggs 45 Egg is formed, the 10 Egg properties 40, 41 Eggs and health 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Eggshell 6, 22, 44, 46 Eggs in brief 28 Egg size 6, 10, 18 Eggs journey through the hen, the 10 Egg structure 6, 7, 8 Eggs stuck in the tray 46 Eggs without yolks 46 Egg tray 36 Egg white 6, 7, 8, 10, 18, 22, 25, 29, 36, 40, 45, 46 Emulsifier 40 Enriched cage eggs 13, 14, 15 Environment – pulp vs. plactic 37 EU Organic logo 20 Facial treatment mask, 40 FAQ, 42 Farm gate sales 17 Fat 8, 28, 29, 32, 34, 44 Feathers on eggs 44 Feed 6, 8, 13, 15, 21, 44 Fertilized egg 42, 45, 46 Foreign flavour 44 Foreign smell 44

Free range 13, 14, 15, 44, 45 Freezing eggs 36 Grade A eggs 18, 22 Grade B eggs 18 Handling eggs 39 Handling raw chicken meat 39 Health claims 31 KAT label 20 Kitchen hygiene 38, 39 KRAV label 20 Labelling 18, 21, 26, 38 Layered egg whites 46 Light 10, 15 Meat spots 45 Metallic taste 46 Mould on packaging 46 Murky egg whites 45 Nests 13, 14 Niacin 29, 30, 31 Noise 15 Nutritional values in eggs 29 Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids 32 Opening to outdoors 15 Organic 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 26, 27 Organic eggs 13, 14, 15, 26, 27, 45 Organic farming 26, 27, 42, 44 Organic farming at DAVA Foods 27 Organic labelling 20

Package date 36 Pantothenic acid 29, 30, 31 Perches 13, 14 Phosphorus 6, 29, 30, 31 Placing eggs in the fridge 36 Production period 10 Production types 14, 15 Protein 7, 8, 25, 28, 29, 32, 34, 35, 40, 45 Protein intake 34 Protein shortage 34 Protein spots 45 Quality and safety 18, 19, 20, 21 Quality control of shell eggs 22 Raising agent 40 Riboflavin (B2) 7, 29, 30, 31 Rich in 31 Rotten eggs 45 Safe products 25 Salmonella 17, 18, 21, 25, 36 Salmonella bacteria 21, 25 Salmonella control 17, 18, 21 Salmonella Treatment Programme 21 Saturated fat 29, 32 Selenium 29, 30, 31, 32 Separate storage 36 Source of 21 Spots in the egg white 45 Spread of bacteria 38, 39 Shelf life 18 Shell membranes 6, 7, 10 Shell thickness 6

Storage 7, 8, 36, 37, 39, 46 Storing hard-boiled eggs 36 Temperature 6, 7, 8, 10, 21, 25, 36, 38, 40, 45, 46 Testing pasteurized egg whites 25 Testing pasteurized whole eggs 25 Thickening agent 40 Thick yolk 46 Thin egg white 46 Thin-shelled eggs 46 Thin yolk 46 Traceability 17 Trade standards for eggs 18, 22, 36, 45 Two yolks in one egg 46 Types of production 13 Uniform products 25 Unsaturated fat 29, 32 Use of pasteurized products 25 Vitamin A, 29, 30, 31, 32, 44 Vitamin B, 29 Vitamin B12, 29, 31 Vitamin D 6, 29, 30, 31 Vitamin E 29, 30, 31 Water 7, 8, 15 21, 29, 44, 46 Weight grades 18 Weight loss 34 Whole eggs 25, 29, 36, 46 Worms in the egg 45 Yolk 6, 7, 8, 10, 18, 22, 23, 25, 29, 32, 36, 40, 42, 44, 45, 46

Index | 49


50 | All about eggs


All about eggs | 51

Cultivating Value DAVA Foods | Glerupvej 5 | DK-9560 Hadsund | T +45 98 57 30 55 | | VAT no. 32 44 20 72