With Christmas less than a week away, many people are starting to prepare their Christmas menus. This may include recipes that feature raw eggs, such as eggnog, hollandaise sauce, mayonnaise and aioli.
Consumers are being advised to remember these food safety practices to reduce their risk of food borne illness.
1. Don’t buy cracked or dirty eggs
Avoid buying cracked or dirty eggs (e.g. visible dirt, hen poo, feathers). These are more likely to be contaminated with Salmonella, which can cause food borne illness. If you see any eggs like this in the marketplace, make the seller aware of it, as it’s against food safety legislation to sell cracked or dirty eggs.
If your eggs crack while transporting them home, it’s safest to discard them or cook them thoroughly as soon as possible, for example in a baked cake.
2. Ensure your eggs are stamped
Check that the eggs you buy are stamped with a unique ID. This ensures that, in the event of a food borne illness or food recall, contaminated eggs can be identified and disposed of quickly.
3. Keep eggs refrigerated
With temperatures set to soar this holiday season, we recommend keeping your eggs refrigerated below 5°C. Keeping them in their cardboard box will also ensure you can track their best before date and have access to the information you need in the event of a food recall.
4. Wash your hands after handling eggs
Wash your hands with soap and running water and dry thoroughly after handling eggs so you don’t contaminate other foods.
5. Don’t serve raw eggs to vulnerable populations
Dishes containing raw eggs, such as eggnog, mayonnaise or aioli, should not be served to vulnerable populations, such as small children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. These groups are at greater risk from food poisoning. Instead, eggs for these people should be cooked until the yolk has started to become firm.
6. Consume raw egg foods immediately
Prepare raw egg foods just before you plan to consume them. If you need to store the dish, refrigerate immediately at 5°C or below, so bacteria cannot grow.
7. Handle leftovers quickly and safely
Don’t allow your Christmas feast to sit out for more than 2 hours. Divide leftovers into small containers so that they cool quickly in your fridge or freezer.
If any foods containing raw eggs have been left out for more than two hours, then discard them. If they are refrigerated quickly, they should still be consumed within 1 day of being made.
Make sure any leftovers are reheated until piping hot (75°C).
By following these food safety tips for eggs, you can protect you and your family from getting sick these holidays.
For more advice, please visit the Queensland Health website.