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Pasteurized or Irradiated Eggs


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#1 dartmouth05

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 08:07 AM

I was watching an episode of a cooking show yesterday that mentioned the availability of pasteurized eggs, still in the shell, in most supermarkets. Well, so far, I've checked the Giant on Westbard Avenue in Bethesda, as well as the SuperFresh on 48th Street in NW DC, and didn't see them in either. Perhaps I just don't know what I'm looking for? Does anyone have any experience with these-are they really the same tastewise as regular eggs? And does anyone know where I might be able to find them?

Thanks! :)

#2 mdt

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 08:12 AM

I was watching an episode of a cooking show yesterday that mentioned the availability of pasteurized eggs, still in the shell, in most supermarkets. Well, so far, I've checked the Giant on Westbard Avenue in Bethesda, as well as the SuperFresh on 48th Street in NW DC, and didn't see them in either. Perhaps I just don't know what I'm looking for? Does anyone have any experience with these-are they really the same tastewise as regular eggs? And does anyone know where I might be able to find them?

Thanks! :)

Interesting...

Harris Teeter in VA carries them according to this site.

#3 mktye

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 09:05 AM

Safeways in northern Virginia have them seasonally. Usually around Easter and Christmas. They are in with the regular eggs and the only brand I've seen is Davidson's "Safest Choice" (in a yellow container). Each egg inside is marked with a "P" in a red circle.

Unfortunately, I cannot tell you how they taste "straight" since I've only used them as an ingredient (mainly in desserts). The whites do not seem to whip up quite as stiff as non-pasteurized egg whites -- meringue cookies were a bit of a slumpy failure, but you can make buttercream, sabayon and such with them. :)
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#4 Barbara

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 09:45 AM

I bought some at the Safeway on Columbia Road at Christmas a couple of years ago to make eggnog for a Christmas Day gathering. The whites wouldn't whip at all and all the stores were closed, except for the 7-11 which was out of eggs. One of my neighbors came to the rescue.

So, if you are planning on whipping the whites, the pasteurized eggs won't work.

#5 zoramargolis

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 01:48 PM

Are you looking for them because of a concern about salmonella in factory-raised eggs? For a long time now, I have used only eggs that I buy from small organic farmers at the Dupont farmers' market. They have healthy chickens, raised in humane conditions, and the eggs have deep yellow-orange yolks, a fry cry from the pale yellow yolks in cheap-o supermarket eggs. I have no hesitation about using these eggs partially cooked or in raw egg-white preparations. They are more expensive, but not that much more.

#6 ScotteeM

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 02:46 PM

I second what Zora said!

Animals raised in better conditions have stronger immune systems, and therefore are much less likely to have bacterial colonization.

I also suspect the eggs from small, local producers are fresher than those on the supermarket shelves, which adds to their safey, IMO.

When I'm planning to use raw eggs in a preparation that doesn't involve cooking, I purchase fresh eggs that day, if possible (and at the Alexandria WF, you can buy whatever quantity you need, even one or two).

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#7 Heather

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 02:49 PM

Wasn't there a study done recently showing that eggshells from eggs sold at farmer's markets, etc, were more likely to be infected with salmonella? :)

#8 dartmouth05

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 03:23 PM

Yes, I'm looking for these due to salmonella concerns... If I'm making a batch of omlettes and some of them are a bit runny, I'll feel more comfortable if I use safe eggs...

#9 Anna Blume

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 05:03 PM

Don't worry.

Some of the things that raise the most alarm are foods that incorporate uncooked eggs such as mayonnaise or mousse. My high school French club lived on chocolate mousse and even when it was transported in an old car under the blazing sun of Southern Indiana, none of us ever had problems.

Slightly runny eggs in omelets, eggs over easy, spaghetti carbonara--all of these can be eaten without distress.

Wait and see if someone here pipes up to recall ever experiencing the ill effects of salmonella. However, I've never had a problem with any kind of egg from supermarkets or farmers's markets. I would only be cautious if you're feeding someone with a compromised immune system or other medical woes.

Freshness should be your principal concern, and if you have any sympathy for the creatures that produce your food, "free-range" or "cage free" means the hen was not cooped up in the dark in something that looks like a Tim Burton set. "Organic" is a term subject to much debate these days, but you might at least look for assurances that the chickens were not fed hormones, antibiotics or ground-up animals. The "sell by" date on your carton may be as much as 60 (or is it 90?) days after the egg was laid, so look for as late a date as you can get if you do not buy yours straight from the farmer. Then refrigerate your eggs since you live in a city that can get hot; some people do not because they do not.

Also try comparing tastes of different eggs to find the source you like the best.

#10 Barbara

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 05:34 PM

I've made tiramasu for years using plain, ol' Safeway eggs, raw, without any problems from anybody. Same with lightly cooked eggs such as are in Hollandaise or Bernaise sauces. When salmonella showed up in some eggs a few years ago, "farming" methods were changed and we haven't heard about it since.

There are no standards for "free range" chickens or their eggs. If you want to be sure about how they are raised, then you need to go to the source and check out the farm itself and its operation.

#11 ScotteeM

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 06:16 PM

I did my best to search for information on salmonella and eggs. I found a consistently reported statistic on the incidence of salmonella in eggs: 10%. IOW, 90% of eggs are free of salmonella.

I was unable to find any documentation of an increased incidence of salmonella among eggs sold by small farmers at farm markets, over mass-produced eggs sold in supermarkets.

I found quite a few articles pointing to healthier conditions for hens--better ventillation, better feed, and greater area per hen--leading to a lower incidence of salmonella on eggs. This bears out my previous assertion that eggs from smaller family farms where hens are not confined in tiny cages with deep layers of fecal matter under them would tend to be healthier.

Refrigeration also plays a role. Eggs sold at farmers markets should be properly stored in coolers with reusable ice packs (not ice) or plug-in coolers. An egg kept out of refrigeration deteriorates about five times as fast as one that is properly refrigerated.

There are other steps taken in egg farming that help reduce the chances of salmonella contamination.

I also saw several articles discussing a study or studies that suggest that salmonella contamination causes weakness in egg shells, so eggs with extremely fragile shells could be contaminated (and therefore should be cooked).

My experience with eggs is similar to Barbara's. I am careful to use fresh eggs when making sauces or dressings or other preparations that use uncooked eggs, and I have not had any problems.

Folks with compromised immune systems do have to take special precautions, of course.

I also wonder about the nutritional value of pasteurized eggs. How does it compare to that of unpasteurized eggs?

Dona Animella


#12 dartmouth05

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 06:21 PM

I did my best to search for information on salmonella and eggs. I found a consistently reported statistic on the incidence of salmonella in eggs: 10%. IOW, 90% of eggs are free of salmonella.

I was unable to find any documentation of an increased incidence of salmonella among eggs sold by small farmers at farm markets, over mass-produced eggs sold in supermarkets.

I found quite a few articles pointing to healthier conditions for hens--better ventillation, better feed, and greater area per hen--leading to a lower incidence of salmonella on eggs. This bears out my previous assertion that eggs from smaller family farms where hens are not confined in tiny cages with deep layers of fecal matter under them would tend to be healthier.

Refrigeration also plays a role. Eggs sold at farmers markets should be properly stored in coolers with reusable ice packs (not ice) or plug-in coolers. An egg kept out of refrigeration deteriorates about five times as fast as one that is properly refrigerated.

There are other steps taken in egg farming that help reduce the chances of salmonella contamination.

I also saw several articles discussing a study or studies that suggest that salmonella contamination causes weakness in egg shells, so eggs with extremely fragile shells could be contaminated (and therefore should be cooked).

My experience with eggs is similar to Barbara's. I am careful to use fresh eggs when making sauces or dressings or other preparations that use uncooked eggs, and I have not had any problems.

Folks with compromised immune systems do have to take special precautions, of course.

I also wonder about the nutritional value of pasteurized eggs. How does it compare to that of unpasteurized eggs?

So I assume that cage free eggs are more likely to be salmonella free?

#13 mdt

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 06:29 PM

So I assume that cage free eggs are more likely to be salmonella free?

It really all depends on the manner in which the chickens are living. I don't think you have much to worry about if you buy your eggs at a decent grocery store or farmer's market. Everything you read will be of the CYA variety, but very few people die from salmonella each year.

#14 Ilaine

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 10:03 AM

My 71 year old mother wants to use irradiated eggs for making fresh mayonnaise, but I haven't been able to find any.

Does anybody know where to find them?

(This isn't my idea.)

I'm just here for the chow.


#15 DanCole42

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 10:08 AM

Not sure. But the chance of getting salmonella from a raw egg is something like 1 in 80,000.
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#16 mdt

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 10:16 AM

Not sure. But the chance of getting salmonella from a raw egg is something like 1 in 80,000.

A quick search finds this , a dated article (2000) that states the overall risk at 1 in 20000. This risk is not the same for everyone as those with a diminished immune system (young, old, sick...) should take extra care.

#17 Ilaine

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 10:44 AM

Not sure. But the chance of getting salmonella from a raw egg is something like 1 in 80,000.

No doubt you are correct, but I am being guilt tripped! :)

I'm just here for the chow.


#18 Al Dente

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 11:34 AM

Put a live hen in the microwave on high for 10 minutes. All subsequent laid eggs will be safe.

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#19 ferment everything

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 02:12 PM

My 71 year old mother wants to use irradiated eggs for making fresh mayonnaise, but I haven't been able to find any.

Does anybody know where to find them?

(This isn't my idea.)

When contemplating my first batch of mayonnaise about a year or so ago, I thought about using irradiated or pasteurized eggs...though a little research doesn't seem to indicate they're the same process, the results on salmonella seem to be the same. Anyway, I looked at Safeway and Whole Foods, and at the time, neither carried them. I used normal eggs and they were fine, but if I were making mayo for a 71 year old, I might've hunted more. Haven't noticed recently if any have started showing up in stores.
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#20 Barbara

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 05:10 PM

When contemplating my first batch of mayonnaise about a year or so ago, I thought about using irradiated or pasteurized eggs...though a little research doesn't seem to indicate they're the same process, the results on salmonella seem to be the same. Anyway, I looked at Safeway and Whole Foods, and at the time, neither carried them. I used normal eggs and they were fine, but if I were making mayo for a 71 year old, I might've hunted more. Haven't noticed recently if any have started showing up in stores.

I found pasteurized eggs at my local Safeway a few years ago in order to make egg nog for Christmas. The whites wouldn't whip, but I would assume you could make mayo with them in a blender. I really don't see why the pasteurized eggs wouldn't be just as safe as irradiated ones.

#21 ScotteeM

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 02:02 PM

I Googled "irradiated eggs" last night, and I have to say that I found little to recommend them. Yes, they are free of salmonella contamination. However, the irratiation process destroys the vitamin A, adversely affects the protein content, and apparently turns the omega fatty acids into free radicals (or something else into free radicals--they're rampant in irradiated eggs and not so in fresh eggs). I stopped reading after a few lines, deciding that I'd rather take that 1 in 20,000 chance than eat a food that has been turned into a carcinogen. And with all the molecular alteration, I wonder how irradiated eggs perform in sauces and baked goods.

I have not found any such information about pasteurized eggs, so I would consider that a safer choice for mayonnaise.

Dona Animella


#22 Ilaine

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Posted 25 August 2006 - 07:03 AM

I have not found any such information about pasteurized eggs, so I would consider that a safer choice for mayonnaise.

Well, I am certainly not going to argue with you. As I said, this is not my idea. I buy as natural an egg as I can get.

That said, I had no idea that I was wandering into a field (irradiation of food) that was so parlous and politicized! I think of DR as being a refuge from politics! :)

But alas, this is, after all, Washington DC, where every choice is politically fraught. :lol:

I'm just here for the chow.


#23 ScotteeM

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Posted 25 August 2006 - 07:25 AM

Well, I am certainly not going to argue with you. As I said, this is not my idea. I buy as natural an egg as I can get.

That said, I had no idea that I was wandering into a field (irradiation of food) that was so parlous and politicized! I think of DR as being a refuge from politics! :)

But alas, this is, after all, Washington DC, where every choice is politically fraught. :lol:

I'm not sure what you read as political in my answer or anyone else's. I'm not trying to argue, either. Just trying to point out what I consider to be a health risk worth considering. The better informed we are about the food we eat, the better we are at making choices about foods.

Dona Animella





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