Client: Kuhl Corporation
Product / service: US-based manufacturer of professional egg washers, global market leader.
Function: Public Affairs Consultant
Issue: Egg washing is mandatory in the United States for all USDA-certified Grade A eggs for human consumption. In the EU, egg washing was only allowed in Sweden. In 2005, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said in a scientific opinion about egg washing that if done properly, it reduces bacterial loads on the eggs’ shell. The opinion noted that there is insufficient data on the effect of egg washing on the eggs’ cuticle. Eggnology informed Kuhl Corporation of the opinion and was tasked with a public affairs strategy with a view of expanding Kuhl’s market in the EU.
Solution: As the EFSA opinion related the efficiency of the washing method to the combination of the washer type and of the used detergents, Eggnology devised a scientific study that departed from a default installation: a Kuhl egg washer and the typical detergent end rinsing agent used in many Swedish packing centres. The aim of the study was to present statistically acceptable scientific data based on a double study to confirm that the default installation did not cause damage to the eggs’ cuticle – the main point of discussion in the opinion.
Two reputable and independent scientific institutions were selected to design and implement a study protocol. The study confirmed that the default washing procedure did not damage the cuticle. It was published in the October 2011 issue of the Journal of Food Protection following peer review.
Eggnology identified and met key officials, product boards and other stakeholders to inform them of the study results and of the fact that egg washing was complementary to the EU-imposed national control programs that aim at reducing Salmonella at farm level.
Upon publication of the study, Eggnology distributed a press release to the specialist and general press in the EU. In addition, the release was sent to government officials and industry stakeholders.
As amendments to EU Regulation 589/2008 had to be approved by qualified majority, the client decided to halt the public affairs strategy. Its EU distributor successfully used the study’s publication as a key document in negotiations with several clients.