With the holidays come celebrations where food is the main event. But don't forget the drinks - especially egg nog! One Best Food Facts reader noticed a lot of egg nog recipes that call for raw eggs and wanted to know whether this is safe. We contacted Washington University's Director of University Nutrition, Connie Diekman, to find out.
Connie Diekman, M.Ed., RD, CSSD, LD: Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, Director of University Nutrition, Washington University in St. Louis.
Best Food Facts: Is it safe to use raw eggs in drinks like egg nog?
Diekman: Raw eggs can contain the foodborne pathogen Salmonella, and for that reason they should be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit to destroy this bacteria before consuming them. It is possible to use pasteurized liquid egg products, but raw eggs are not a good – or safe – idea.
In a previous interview conducted with Dr. Patricia Curtis, Auburn University Professor of Poultry Science and Director of the Poultry Products Safety and Quality Peak of Excellence Program, she said that we should treat all eggs as though they have Salmonella (because Salmonella is naturally present in a small percentage of eggs), and noted that to keep eggs safe, they should be kept refrigerated and cooked thoroughly. If you're planning to eat raw eggs, be sure to choose a liquid pasteurized egg product. To listen to our interview with Dr. Curtis, click here.
What type of food do you most enjoy during the holidays?