Hi Evans X,
Thank you for the reply. In the South African retail market, pasteurised shell eggs is a fairly new product category. Shell eggs in the SA market is almost never refrigerated (even the few heat treated or pasteurised egg brands that we find here are marketed at ambient temperatures).
As I understand it the US requirement for refrigeration results from the fact that the US egg packing facilities are obliged to wash their eggs before resale which washes away the natural coating (also called a cuticle) on the egg's shell surface thereby making the egg vulnerable to penetrating bacteria. Washing of eggs is however not a requirement in the EU which enables them to store eggs at ambient temperatures (I don't live in the EU or US so please feel free to correct me if I am wrong here).
By far the most common way to pasteurise eggs is to use a type of water bath method and I fully agree that this method would lead to the cuticle being washed away (in a similar manner to the washing of eggs in the US) meaning that the pores are open and penetrating bacteria can make their way through the shell pores into the contents of the egg. Our process is however a dry pasteurisation process (sorry for leaving out this vital part of info in the original post), meaning that the cuticle remains in tact and bacteria cannot easily enter the shell.
As far as destruction of shell calcium during the pasteurisation process, I have never heard of this but I would love to read up on this a bit, do you perhaps have any reference material to share on this topic?
We have scientifically validated that the salmonella reduction is sufficient and also that our equipment can heat and hold the eggs to the required temperatures. We have also done a shelf life study to confirm a shelf life of about two months (I know this could seem rather short to some, but this is regulated so we are not allowed to extend the shelf life beyond this). We also have a salmonella monitoring program in place on farm level and we are candling all the incoming eggs to ensure the eggs are not cracked, We also have visual inspections in place to ensure we do not have any heavily soiled eggs going through this process.
For the methodology of the risk assessment we simply listed each area on a spreadsheet, wrote out the questions to BRC's zoning decision trees and answered them until we could reach a decision. Step 3 of BRC's decision tree reads as follows: "Does the area contain products which, on the basis of cooking instructions and known customer use*, undergo full cooking** prior to consumption?" and if you answer "Yes" then the product is classified as low risk. We said yes at this step as the eggs are still going to be fried at the fast food outlet and our goal is not to provide a RTE or RTH product.