SALT LAKE CITY – With a lot of people planning picnics during the summer salmonella poisoning is a concern for many. And with the recall of over 400-million eggs this spring because of the bacteria, a lot of people are wondering how to stay safe.
Heather Boyce, a backyard chicken enthusiast and a veterinary technician for over 17-years, says not washing the eggs may be the key.
Because eggs are porous they are susceptible to all sorts of environmental infections. Boyce says it’s illegal in many European countries to wash the protective bloom off eggs until just before they are sold or prepared.
That differs from the United States where the USDA requires commercial farms to wash eggs in hot water and then spray a sanitizer over the eggs before shipping.
When asked if eggs are porous, doesn’t the sanitizer seep in? Boyce says, ‘she would think so, but hasn’t checked store eggs with a microscope to verify.’
Boyce went on to say some chickens do harbor salmonella within their bodies and can pass the infection into the yolk of eggs laid. That’s why it’s important to cook eggs thoroughly. But, she also warns about the dangers of external sources of salmonella penetrating eggs when the bloom is removed and also being transferred to the cardboard cartons eggs come in.
She says many people collect their eggs in the cartons, immediately wash them, and then put them back in the same carton to store in the refrigerator. Boyce believes this is very concerning and does not recommend putting a washed egg into the same container it arrived or was collected in. “Better yet,” she says “backyard chicken enthusiasts shouldn’t wash their eggs until just before they’re ready to use them.”
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