Eggs Strive for Quality
R.W Sauder, Inc., one of Lancaster County's
largest employers, hosted government and industry officials for
the signing of the poultry health agreement and unveiling of
the PEQAP logo. Over 250 employees at Sauder's plant in Lititz
process 7,000 to 8,000 cases of eggs per day.
"With the control measures and testing protocols developed for
the Pennsylvania Egg Quality Assurance Program, we are reasonably
sure that the eggs coming into our plant are free of salmonella," according
to Thomas Fox, quality control manager. 'We constantly monitor
the eggs and keep them refrigerated to prevent any foodborne
illness from developing."
The eggs are placed into stainless steel washers, with 200 gallons
of fresh water constantly circulating around them as rollers
and brushes wash them with a special soap. They are rinsed and
sanitized in fresh water, then warm air dries the eggs as they
move along a conveyor belt. Visually unappealing eggs, leakers
and misshaped eggs are removed from the line by hand.
"Egg shells are very coarse," Fox said, "so
a thin coat of mineral oil seals the shell to protect it. The
eggs proceed to the candling booth, where employees look at
the interior of egg, again pulling any undesirable eggs off
the line. Utilizing both manual and automatic candlers, the
eggs roll over ultra sound to detect any cracks which may have
occurred in the shell."
Computerized machines weigh and separate the eggs by size as
they roll down the conveyer belt. The eggs are then placed into
cases, with each case still separated by its originating flock.
Most of the eggs are packed with 30 dozen eggs per case, although
they deal in 15 dozen and 20 dozen cases, depending upon the
individual buyer. After the cartons are packed, they are all
coded and labeled with the date, USDA plant number and flock
The cartons are moved immediately into the shipping cooler,
where they await their final destination. With five additional
plants, Sauder's eggs are shipped to consumers in several Mid-Atlantic
states and exported to Puerto Rico, the Netherlands, Switzerland,
Germany, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
The company also runs a collection service for used egg cartons.
Foam cartons are gathered for melt-down and are eventually made
into park benches and picnic tables. Although the pulp cartons
are made from recycled materials, the used cartons can't be recycled
because of the ink.
"Refrigeration at 45 degrees F. is the best way to control foodborne
bacteria on the farm, at the store and in your home," Fox said. "The
temperature of Sauder's eggs is consistently controlled from
the time they're laid, through processing, until they are delivered
to your grocer.
operate our own fleet of refrigerated delivery trucks to be
sure. We are going to great lengths to produce the best quality
products, but once the eggs leave our plant, it is up to the
consumer to handle them properly."