’Hard-cook’ eggs to avoid salmonella
Extension specialists warn bacteria may survive in undercooked eggs
by Robert Mills
The recent egg recall has left many Nevadans nervous about eggs, but University of Nevada Cooperative Extension experts say that safe-cooking practices are the best defense against the spread of salmonella.
Although consumers should get rid of any eggs recently found to be contaminated with the bacteria, UNCE nutrition specialist Kerry Seymour said Washoe County residents have been calling her even when their eggs don’t match brands on the recall list.
"The advice I give them is to hard-cook their eggs all the time -- not over easy, not sunny-side up," Seymour said.
"If you hard-cook the egg so that both the yolk and white are firm, that, in theory, will destroy any salmonella. But really, the best recommendation is to avoid those eggs which have been listed in the recall. Are a couple dollars worth the risk of getting you or your family sick?"
The egg recall list can be found below.
This strain of salmonella—which can cause symptoms of abdominal cramps, diarrhea and fever within a period of 12 to 72 hours after consumption, according to the Centers for Disease Control—is a common form of the bacteria. Over 50 cases of the strain have been reported in Nevada this year.
"It’s pretty common, unfortunately," University of Nevada Nutrition Specialist Stanley Omaye said. "The golden rule is: don’t consume uncooked or poorly cooked eggs anymore -- unless you get them pasteurized. Whenever I do my preaching on food safety, I say, ’Stay away from raw products, particularly raw eggs.’ "
Eggs need to be cooked until firm, since bacteria live within the uncooked yolk or egg white.
"This particular variety, salmonella enteritidis, actually occurs within the ovary of the chicken," Seymour said. "So this toxin is within the egg."
Other important safe-cooking practices include washing hands before and after handling raw eggs in order to avoid any cross contamination.
"Consumers should also avoid licking the cake-batter bowl or eating raw cookie dough," Seymour said. "These kinds of foods contain raw eggs."
Seymour said those most vulnerable to illnesses from salmonella are people with impaired immune systems, children, pregnant women and the elderly.
Egg lovers need not give up their eggs altogether, but rather approach the cooking of eggs more cautiously.
"We need to ensure that we’re doing some common things that need to be done," Omaye said. "That means thoroughly cooking our food. Because eggs are still OK now, we just can’t eat them raw or undercooked."
Recalled Egg Brands (Source: CDC)
- Alta Dena Dairy
- Cal Egg
- Challenge Dairy
- Country Eggs
- Driftwood Dairy
- Dutch Farms
- Farm Fresh
- Hidden Villa Ranch
- Hillandale Farms
- James Farms
- Mi Pueblo
- Mountain Dairy
- Pacific Coast
- Sunny Farms
- Sunny Meadow
- Sun Valley
- West Creek
- Wholesome Farms