3 Important Facts about Egg Safety
When it comes to egg safety, there’s no room for yolking around. The FDA has estimated that eggs contaminated with salmonella cause roughly 142,000 illnesses per year. Though you may have already made the choice to purchase organic eggs, there is still a chance that they can be contaminated with salmonella.
What, exactly, is salmonella? Salmonella is a type of bacteria that is transferred to eggs through infected hens. A chicken’s environment is easily contaminated by other carrier animals such as rodents, birds, and flies. Chickens show no signs of the illness, but they do give a small amount to their eggs. Though a small amount is harmless, the bacteria rapidly spreads if eggs aren’t cooled quickly or if they get too warm during shipment.
How can you avoid salmonella? Here are a few steps you can take.
- Be a mindful buyer. If an egg isn’t clean or if it’s cracked, don’t buy it. Only buy eggs from refrigerated cases. Is it local? How far did the eggs travel to get to the market? Buying locally farmed, organic eggs is always better than buying eggs from a factory farm.
- Avoid cross contamination. Before cooking with eggs, ensure that all surfaces, utensils, and your hands are thoroughly cleaned with soap and water. Repeat the process after cooking is done.
- Cook eggs thoroughly. Organic eggs should be cooked until their internal temperature is 160 degrees, or until the egg yolk and egg white are firm. What to do if you like your eggs a bit runny? In that case the FDA recommends purchasing eggs that are pasteurized, which means that the eggs have been heated to a temperature that kills the bacteria. If you choose to eat runny eggs, or egg dishes such as Caesar dressing or Hollandaise sauce, just know that you run the risk of infection.
At Chino Valley Ranchers, we take egg safety very seriously. That’s why we keep a well-maintained, clean environment for our chickens and ensure proper handling once the eggs are laid. If you have any questions about our processes, contact us today. We are happy to help!