Egg safety for holiday baking and food preparation

Holiday baking and food preparation that involves raw eggs requires special care. Prevent food poisoning caused by eggs by safe handling, refrigeration and cooking.

Holiday baking and eating will soon appear in a kitchen near you. Hectic holidays can present more opportunities for food poisoning at home. Michigan State University Extension along with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers important food safety tips.

Raw eggs in holiday recipes require special care. High temperatures required to cook cakes, cookies and candy containing raw eggs are sufficient to kill bacteria. However, the raw eggs in cookie dough may present a hazard, especially to children, the elderly and those with certain health problems – uncooked cookie dough is not safe to eat

  • Buy eggs only sold from a refrigerator or refrigerated case.
  • Open the carton and make sure that the eggs are clean and the shells are not cracked.
  • Refrigerate promptly.
  • Store eggs in their original carton and use them within three weeks for best quality.
  • Place the carton in the coldest part of the refrigerator – not in the door, where temperatures may fluctuate when opened and closed.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that 142,000 illnesses each year are caused by consuming eggs contaminated with Salmonella. FDA has put regulations in place to help prevent contamination of eggs on the farm and during shipping and storage. Consumers play a key role in preventing illness associated with eggs. In fact, the most effective way to prevent egg-related illness is by knowing how to buy, store, handle and cook eggs — or foods that contain them — safely.

Before preparing any food, remember that cleanliness is key! Wash hands, utensils, equipment and work surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after they come in contact with eggs and egg-containing foods.

When cooking eggs and dishes that contain egg, the temperature should reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a food thermometer to be sure. An important step in making sure eggs are safe is to thoroughly cook them until both the yolk and the white are firm; scrambled eggs should not be runny.

MSU Extension suggests following these food safety practices for eggs to guide you through a safe holiday baking and cooking experience. You can find additional information in the Michigan Fresh bulletin titled “Chicken Eggs.” Learning this basic tips and practices now can guard you family from unwanted foodborne illness that sickens people far too often.

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