If you haven’t heard…

There’s a salmonella outbreak on eggs!  So sad. I love eggs. And I just got an egg poacher I’m itching to test out.

Did you know there is an Egg Safety organization? Here are some of the FAQs I thought were most interesting (relatively):

How long are eggs that have been refrigerated, safe to eat? Raw eggs maintain their freshness for 4-5 weeks after purchase if kept refrigerated continuously.

What is an adequate temperature to cook an egg? Egg white coagulates between 144 and 149°F, egg yolk coagulates between 149 and 158°F and whole eggs between 144 and 158°F. Plain whole eggs without added ingredients are pasteurized but not cooked by bringing them to 140°F and maintaining that temperature for 3 and 1/2 minutes. According to the FDA Food Code, eggs for immediate consumption can be cooked to 145°F for 15 seconds…

Is the appearance of an egg related to food safety? Variation in egg color is due to many factors. A cloudy white is a sign that the egg is very fresh. A clear egg white is an indication that the egg is aging. Pink or iridescent egg white indicates spoilage and should not be consumed. A rupture of one or more small blood vessels in the yolk may cause blood spots at the time of ovulation. It does not indicate the egg is unsafe to eat. The color of the yolk varies in shades of yellow depending upon the diet of the hen. If she eats plenty of yellow/orange plants the yolk with be a darker yellow than if she eats white cornmeal, a colorless diet.

What will happen if I eat an egg containing Salmonella?If an egg containing Salmonella has been kept refrigerated and someone who uses good hygiene practices serves it to you immediately after proper cooking, you’ll simply have a nutritious meal. If the egg has been improperly handled, though, you might experience the foodborne illness called salmonellosis. You could have symptoms of abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, chills, fever and/or headache within 6 to 72 hours after eating. The symptoms usually last only a day or two in healthy people but can lead to serious complications for the very young, pregnant women, the elderly, the ill and those with immune system disorders. Anyone who has had salmonellosis may pass along the bacteria for several weeks after recovering, but salmonellosis is seldom fatal. While the risk of getting salmonellosis is very small, there’s no need to take chances because cooking kills Salmonella.

Are Salmonella bacteria most likely to be found in the egg’s white or yolk? Bacteria, if they are present at all, are most likely to be in the white and will be unable to grow, mostly due to lack of nutrients. As the egg ages, however, the white thins and the yolk membrane weakens. This makes it possible for bacteria to reach the nutrient-dense yolk where they can grow over time if the egg is kept at warm temperatures. In a clean, uncracked, fresh shell egg, internal contamination rarely occurs.

Whew. Did you think there could be so much stuff about eggs? And that’s not even the half of it.

Of course, don’t forget to wash your hands and surfaces!

Your Turn: