Food safety can present a challenge during the holiday season as it’s probably not the first thing you think about when making holiday goodies. In order to protect you and your guests from food-borne illnesses, it is important to follow certain safety measures when cooking with eggs, including preventing cross contamination and consuming raw or undercooked dishes that contain eggs.
One way to cook safely with eggs is by using egg products. The term “egg products” refers to eggs that have been pasteurized, or exposed to elevated temperatures for a period of time sufficient to destroy certain microorganisms. Egg products can come in many forms including liquid and dried whole eggs, egg whites, and egg yolks. The most common form of egg products you may see in your grocery store are liquid egg whites, typically found in the refrigerated section next to all the cartoned eggs. Egg products are mostly used in baking and cooking where there is a chance that the product is not heated up high enough to completely destroy any food-borne microorganisms, like Salmonella Enteritidis. Some common holiday entrées that you could use egg products include casseroles, soufflés, deviled eggs, cookies, meringues and puddings.
When cooking this holiday season, it is always important to remember that the internal temperature of any product you cook this holiday season reaches 160°F. The Egg Safety Center and USDA does not recommend eating raw shell eggs that are not cooked or undercooked due to the possibility that Salmonella bacteria may be present. So if you plan on sneaking a few spoonfuls of that wonderful chocolate chip cookie dough while baking this holiday season, it may be wise to use egg products instead of raw eggs to avoid contracting a food-borne illness.