Prevent Salmonella Contamination When Handling Eggs
Environmental health researchers at Flinders University in Australia announced that they have found a way to prevent Salmonella contamination in eggs. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) egg shells might become contaminated with Salmonella from the poultry droppings. Therefore, food items that include raw eggs, such as mayonnaise and caeser dressing, could potentially spread Salmonella to the whole recipe.
The researchers have found that by putting the eggs in a sous-vide cooker, which is a method of precision cooking at a low temperature and found in most commercial kitchens, with water heated to 57 °C, is an effective deterrent. Research results found that “complete decontamination of Salmonella was achieved by treating eggs for nine minutes” at this precise temperature. The research team notes in the report that treating the eggs to this process prior to usage, had no “impact on the egg’s usability.”
Another recommendation for cooking a recipe that requires raw eggs, this one from the University of Minnesota, includes heating the egg with any liquid from the recipe over a low heat at 160 °F (about 71 °C). This method would ensure any cross contamination of Salmonella bacteria on the eggshell would be killed off prior to finishing the recipe.
It is important to remember proper food safe practices when handling eggs no matter how they are prepared. Salmonella bacteria can be found on the shell of the egg and, in some instances, in the egg itself. Therefore, inspecting and throwing away any eggs with cracks is the first line of defense. Next, properly wash hands prior to and after handling the eggs to prevent cross contamination. Finally, cooking eggs properly will ensure the safest and best way to ensure decontamination.