|Are you at risk of salmonella poisoning if you enjoy your eggs with a more runny yolk?
Eggs are one of the most common ingredients used in cooking, and make such a versatile ingredient that they can be cooked in a magnitude of inventive ways. Long ago, the number of pleats in a chef’s hat was a sign of how many ways they were able to cook an egg. Amongst the many different ways an egg can be used in cooking, some people desire the runny yellowish goodness of the yolk when they consume their egg. But the question arises, is eating an undercooked egg hazardous to our health.
With the fear of salmonella poisoning from chicken eggs becoming a real threat, eating eggs over-easy, sunny-side-up or half-boiled is not recommended. Scientists say that eggs which are not cooked properly have a high risk of contaminating the consumer with salmonella. So, how does salmonella spread from the chicken to the egg?
Chickens get infected by salmonella bacteria from their environment, which is easily contaminated by rodents, birds, and flies. These carriers deliver the bacteria to all types of farms - regardless of whether they're conventional, organic or free-range. Once the bacteria get in the chicken, the microorganisms thrive under ideal conditions. Although the chickens harbor salmonella, they will show no signs of illness, making it impossible to know which animals are infected.
Dangers of Salmonella
Although undercooked poultry and eggs are the main culprits for salmonella poisoning (salmonellosis), it can also be found in other foods, that include ground beef as well as a variety of fruits and vegetables. Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, which usually develops within 12 to 72 hours after infection, and usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without treatment, but in some cases diarrhea and dehydration may be so severe that it is necessary to go to the hospital. Salmonellosis is especially dangerous for older adults, infants, pregnant women and those who have impaired immune systems.
How to prevent Salmonellosis from Eating Eggs
The US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has set guidelines on how to best prepare eggs, to prevent Salmonellosis, but these protocols crosses out some raw or lightly cooked egg-based favorites like hollandaise sauce, caesar salad dressing, carbonara sauce, soft-boiled eggs, homemade eggnog, homemade mayonnaise and homemade ice cream. Here are some methods you can try to still enjoy your favorite egg-based foods, but still avoid salmonella poisoning:
Be sure to only purchase eggs from stores or other suppliers that keep them refrigerated (below 4 degrees Celsius).
Discard eggs with cracked shells.
If you prefer organic eggs, opt for eggs that have been pasteurized.
Raw or cooked eggs should not be left at room temperature for longer than two hours.
To extend the shelf life of eggs, coating them in cooking oil helps them keep for an extra two weeks when refrigerated.
When using egg as an ingredient in cooking, the dish must be cooked at a minimum temperature of 71 degrees celsius. This rule also applies when preparing hollandaise sauce and caesar salad dressing. Use a bain-marie (placing a bowl on top of boiling water).
Any eggshells that fall into cracked eggs should be discarded.
To make half-boiled eggs, only put eggs in when the water has reached a rolling boil (water is vigorously bubbling) and cook for a little over 4 minutes.
Always be sure to thoroughly wash any surfaces that have come into contact with raw eggs. Discard of eggshells properly to avoid cross contamination.
Remember to always wash your hands after handling eggs.