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Cholesterol and vitamin D content of eggs in the U.S. retail market

Jacob Exler, Katherine M. Phillips, Kristine Y. Patterson, Joanne M. Holden
Journal of food composition and analysis 2013 v.29 no.2 pp. 110-116
USDA, census data, cholecalciferol, cholesterol, consumer education, egg composition, eggs, feed supplements, feeds, food consumption, food policy, gas chromatography, high performance liquid chromatography, market share, nutrient databanks, poultry, quality control, reference standards, retail marketing, surveys, vitamin content, United States
Nationwide sampling in the U.S. of whole large eggs, to update values in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (SR) (http://www.ars.usda.gov/nutrientdata), was conducted in 2000–2001 and in 2010. Retail cartons of large eggs were obtained from 12 supermarket locations using statistical sampling plans based on market share and census data. Cholesterol was analyzed at three laboratories using standard methods involving gas chromatography of the saponified total lipid extract. Vitamin D3 and 25-OH-vitamin D3 (2010 samples only) were analyzed by HPLC and UHPLC–MS/MS. Quality control materials were included to validate the accuracy and precision of measurements. The mean cholesterol content decreased 51mg/100g (12%; p<0.0001), from 423mg/100g in 2000–2001 to 372 (range 344–405) in 2010. Over the same period, average vitamin D3 increased by 60%, to 2.05μg [80IU]/100g (range 0.97–12.1). Samples from 2010 contained 0.65μg 25-OH-D3/100g (range 0.43–1.32). The disparate vitamin D (and cholesterol) content of eggs sampled from different locations may reflect industry efforts to modify poultry feed or supplements to affect the nutrient profile of eggs. Cholesterol and vitamin D3 data from this work were included in SR release 23, and support food consumption surveys, food and nutrition policy, and consumer education.