The Safest Choice™ Brand and National Pasteurized Eggs, Inc.
In the early 1990s, the Cox family and L. John Davidson began to market a safe egg option for consumers and foodservice establishments around the country. Davidson acquired a licensing agreement on the technology from the Cox Family and formed the Pasteurized Eggs Corporation to introduce safe egg technology to the consumer marketplace.
Pasteurized eggs were first produced in partnership with a large egg producer in the Carolinas, servicing a few surrounding Eastern states. Expansion into additional states was made possible by the licensing of the technology to an investment group in the Midwest called National Pasteurized Eggs, Inc. (NPE) of Illinois. NPE began producing pasteurized eggs in late 2001.
But this license model for introducing this unique egg safety solution was unsustainable. In 2002, Davidson and his investors in Pasteurized Eggs Corporation could not achieve profitability and went into bankruptcy. In July of 2003, NPE purchased all international intellectual property, processing rights, assets, and technological know-how of this egg pasteurization technology. NPE chose to produce for the national market and launched Safest Choice™ in October 2003.
Soon after, NPE began to build a sales and marketing team to introduce this safe egg option nationally to healthcare facilities, foodservice operators, chain restaurants, and distributors who found these eggs to be a tremendous step toward improving the food safety in their operations while assuring their patients, residents and guests protection from the risks of egg-related Salmonella. Slowly, the company has entered the consumer market and has become available in retail in most major markets.
Egg Pasteurization Process and Proof
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), targeting the health risks of Salmonella and raw or undercooked eggs, began establishing a safety standard for egg pasteurization in 1994. This standard was set at a minimum requirement of 5-log reduction of Salmonella bacteria inside the egg—a bacteria count level that would ensure destruction of dangerous bacteria and ensure that eggs would be safe to consume, even in their raw state.
In 1994, independent Silliker Laboratory studies confirmed that the NPE process and protocols of pasteurization met this 5-log standard. On May 22, 1995, the FDA provided a letter to NPE, confirming that the company's pasteurization technique qualified for use of the term “pasteurized” because it successfully destroyed Salmonella to beyond a 5-log reduction in all studies.
Since the initial approvals, NPE has received additional audits and studies from USDA, Silliker Labs, and Purdue University to further verify superior shelf life and safety offered by Safest Choice™ Pasteurized Eggs.
Since 2000, the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control, and US Department of Agriculture have further embraced pasteurization technology by recommending pasteurized eggs to consumers and foodservice establishments alike. The FDA Food Code, which provides science-based standards for food safety in foodservice and retail food establishments, states that pasteurized eggs are not “potentially hazardous” like ordinary eggs are. It recommends them as a safe choice, especially when serving any foods containing undercooked or raw eggs or for individuals who are especially susceptible to foodborne illness.
National Pasteurized Eggs, Inc. – the Company
National Pasteurized Eggs, Inc. is a privately owned company headquartered in Lansing, Illinois. The Safest Choice™ pasteurized eggs brand has grown from sales in just a few states in 2003 to now providing delicious, safe, pasteurized eggs to retailers, consumers, and restaurants across North America…and soon to countries around the globe.
Today, NPE leads the industry in educational efforts to reduce the illnesses and outbreaks from egg-related Salmonella. NPE uses a patented, all-natural water bath pasteurization process to ensure the accurate, commercial-scale production of pasteurized eggs.
It’s been more than two decades since Dr. Cox began his studies. Many additional patents and numerous other extensions to the original patents have been filed. Today, this portfolio of patents and technology is owned by National Pasteurized Eggs Inc. While Dr. James P. Cox is no longer with us, his legacy lives on through the availability of safe, pasteurized eggs. R.W. Duffy Cox remains as part owner and Technical and Quality Advisor to NPE.
You can recognize NPE's Safest Choice™ Pasteurized Eggs by their trademark red Circle P on every package and every egg. You’ll find Safest Choice™ in many retail stores and on the menus of hotels, restaurants, schools, universities, hospitals, and healthcare facilities throughout the US.