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Sandra Cain

Sandra CainBy: Sandra R. Cain

Eggs and Food Safety

During the Easter holiday weekend, many families with young children and grandchildren will be boiling and dyeing eggs.  If you plan to eat the eggs later, be sure to think about safety.

A food safety concern with eggs is Salmonella bacteria. Eggs are perishable and must be handled with care. You can not tell if an egg contains salmonella bacteria by looking at it. Salmonella has been found inside clean, unbroken eggs. Do not eat undercooked eggs or food dishes containing raw eggs. Thorough cooking kills Salmonella bacteria. The risk of getting sick from this is small; yet, the infection from eating contaminated eggs can be dangerous, especially for the very young, the elderly and those weakened by illness.

Eggs should be kept cold to prevent bacterial growth. After buying eggs, refrigerate them as soon as possible. Be sure to store the eggs in the carton in the main part of the refrigerator. Do not store raw eggs in the door of the refrigerator. As with any perishable food, do not leave eggs and foods that contain eggs at room temperature for more than two hours.  Rapid bacterial growth occurs after this point.   

Foods which are lightly cooked such as custards or French toast are not safe if an infected egg was used. Avoid foods made with raw, uncooked eggs like Caesar salad, homemade mayonnaise, Hollandaise sauce, homemade eggnog, homemade ice cream, and raw cookie dough. These foods can be safely prepared by substituting pasteurized eggs for fresh whole eggs. Pasteurized eggs are available in whole, liquid or dried form. If pasteurized eggs are not available, a safe alternative is to use a recipe where the eggs are cooked.

Prepare eggs and egg dishes properly to prevent food safety concerns. Do not use eggs with cracked shells. When preparing foods that contain eggs, wash hands, utensils, and work surfaces that come in contact with the raw eggs.

Easter eggs used in baskets or for egg hunts are safe to eat if they have not been kept outside the refrigerator for more than 2 hours. Eggs that are kept at room temperature more than 2 hours lose moisture and quality as well as being susceptible to bacterial growth. Hard cooked Easter eggs can be safely stored in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days.

Eggs should be cooked until the white and the yolk are firm, not runny. Hard-boiled, firm-fried, and scrambled eggs are safe. Sunny-side up, soft cooked, and over easy eggs are not recommended, unless pasteurized eggs are used.

Remember, thoroughly cook any food that contains raw eggs. Use pasteurized eggs in any foods that may have undercooked eggs in them. When eggs are handled safely, they are a safe and nutritious food.

Source:  University of Minnesota Extension

Bacon-Jalapeno Deviled Eggs

6 large eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
1/4 cup light mayonnaise

¼ cup low-fat yogurt

1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1/8 teaspoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
3 strips bacon, cooked ‘til crisp and crumbled
2 scallions, sliced (optional)

Slice hard boiled eggs in half lengthwise, removing yolks to a medium bowl. Mash yolks with a fork and add mayonnaise, vinegar, ground mustard, sugar and salt. Stir until well combined. Add minced jalapeno.

Fill each egg white hole with the mixture. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon and sliced scallions. Chill until ready to serve.