Manufactured egg products and getting rid of shells

I’m currently eating a pre-prepared egg bite (Three Bridges brand) and find myself wondering just how food factories deal with opening that many eggs and getting rid of shells, since I do not recall ever finding bits of shell in any pre-packaged egg product I’ve eaten.

At large scale breaking facilities the eggs go into a cup with slot in the bottom, then a “spoon” kicks up and cracks the egg allowing the egg yolk/white to drop down in to another cup. A second cup on certain lines allows for the separation of yolks and whites. Do a YouTube search of “Industrial automatic egg cracking machine, egg yolk separators bakery factory use” and will give you and idea of the machine.

The eggs where your egg bites were made probably receive the eggs in liquid form already broken to be used as an ingredient. These eggs where probably homogenized (and possibly pasteurized), mixed with other ingredients, and ran through multiple pumps so any shells left from the breaking process would have been beat/ground to nothing.

There are lots of industrial egg crackers strutting their stuff on Youtube. Search on índustrial egg processing’ and prepare to be hypnotised.

Back when I drove trucks for a living, there was a regular collection at an egg processing factory in Somerset.

They had a couple of vans that collected eggs from farms and bought them in. I saw one that had been in a collision once and they were “unloading” all the smashed eggs from the back.

We collected IBCs (Intermediate Bulk Containers) full of liquid egg yolks which were delivered to small businesses that made mayonnaise.

There’s a TV show named Food Factory on Nat Geo channel. It’s British, but they go to different factories where everything from bread to frozen dinners are made and shipped.

Interesting to see some of the machinery, including egg crackers.

The always-eggscelent (sorry!) podcast The Omnibus Project (hosted by Ken Jennings and John Roderick), did an ep on this: Omnibus Episode 138: Egg-Cracking Machines (Entry 398.JE1711)

I recall a show that talked about this and showed the egg cracking contraption. A guy “invented” a washing machine like device that separated the eggs from the shells by putting them in the spin cycle. Shells remained in the tub and egg goodness into the drain.

Hmm, it may have been a 60 Minutes segment back in the 80s.

How do they dispose of all of the shells?

They are ground and put in chicken feed as a source of calcium. This helps the chickens lay eggs with stronger shells. I worked at an egg producer back when I was in high school. Laying chickens are also fed shell grit, this a made from ground up seashells.

Does that still happen? I thought that feeding animal products back to the same or similar species was typically avoided nowadays, because loops like that are fertile ground for prion diseases to arise.

The Prion disease outbreaks were when animal protein products were fed to herbivore species, which would not normally eat such.
But chickens are omnivores, and the ground eggshells are not proteins, so I don’t think they have worries about prion diseases.