Egg Safety and Eating Out
By Nancy Bufano, Food Technologist, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA
How can you make sure that eggs are safe when you’re eating out, especially with all of the egg recalls in the news?
According to the CDC, public health officials have identified 26 restaurants or “event clusters” where more than one ill person with Salmonella Enteritidis has eaten (that’s the type of Salmonella associated with the current egg recalls).
Some people, such as children, pregnant women, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems or debilitating illnesses, are at higher risk for a Salmonella infection and need to be particularly careful when eating out.
Here are some practical things that you can do to keep you and your family safe:
- Always ask your server whether the food contains raw or undercooked eggs. If so, find out if the eggs are pasteurized. If not, order something else. Some foods that may contain raw or undercooked eggs include:
- Hollandaise sauce
- Caesar salad dressing
- Cold soufflés, chiffons, or mousses
- Ice cream
- Meringue-topped pies
- Certain ethnic dishes, such as Japanese sukiyaki or Korean bibimbap.
- If you order cooked eggs, make sure that they’re thoroughly cooked. Scrambled eggs should be firm, not runny. Fried, poached, boiled, or baked eggs should have firm whites and yolks.
- Avoid eating eggs at a buffet, since the eggs may be undercooked or may have been at room temperature for too long.
- If you plan to save leftovers to eat later, refrigerate egg dishes as soon as possible – always within two hours (or one hour if it’s a hot day).
If you think that you have become ill from eating recalled eggs, contact your health care provider. For more information, see Eggs and Egg Products.
I think pasturizing eggs is just a way to keep selling us eggs that are unsafe, they just won't make us sick any more. They're still bad eggs. Let's just have good eggs and not have to worry about it. Fix the way the eggs are produced and let's keep them safe and move on. I also find it interesting that most of the recalls are on products that are already past the expiration date - usually by a significant length of time. What good does that do? Must be some legal strategy to let the manufacturer/producers off the hook from future litigation. Sure doesn't do anybody any good that already ate the product a week or more previous. Where's big brother in the Ag business? Marguerite Stamper