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  • Risk of raw eggs

    For my whole life, I have always had the assumption that you do not eat raw eggs, due to risk of food-borne illness. Mark's article for egg coffee yesterday reminded me that I was wondering about this very issue for his mayonnaise recipe (raw egg yolks). Is it safe to eat raw eggs?

  • #2
    If your eggs are from a quality source, you should be fine.
    My nutrition/fitness/critical thinking blog:

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    • #3
      Risk of raw eggs from good chickens: virtually zero.

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      • #4
        Also, I'm going to guess that the heat from the coffee, or the acid from the vinegar essentially "cooks" the eggs enough to kill anything. I do believe I've at least heard that about vinegar--the coffee may just be wishful thinking on my part =P
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        • #5
          The risk increases greatly when you leave the eggs out on the counter for extended periods of time at warm temperatures, as they do in restaurants. That's why most cases of food poisoning from eggs happen in restaurants.

          I never much liked raw eggs, even in beverages. But if the beverage is actually hot, there is not a safety problem. 140 is not hot enough, but you'd probably say that if you were to taste it. Coffee is normally served at 160-180F.

          Originally posted by Cyborcat View Post
          Also, I'm going to guess that the heat from the coffee, or the acid from the vinegar essentially "cooks" the eggs enough to kill anything. I do believe I've at least heard that about vinegar--the coffee may just be wishful thinking on my part =P
          Vinegar does not cook anything. It merely retards bacterial growth. Adding acid to fish when making seviche results in the proteins being denatured, but the presence of pathogenic bacteria will be unchanged.
          Last edited by eKatherine; 07-26-2013, 08:42 AM.

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          • #6
            Based on the responses so far, it seems like some homemade mayonnaise will be getting made this weekend.

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            • #7
              I have been eating raw eggs for most part of my life and never had any problems by doing it...
              "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

              - Schopenhauer

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              • #8
                I don't like raw whites, but I mix raw yolks into all kinds of stuff. My salad dressings, homemade mayo, apparently even my coffee now!..... But I really love shooting the yolk just by itself. Its so tasty. Safety concerns have already been covered I think.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by eKatherine View Post
                  Vinegar does not cook anything. It merely retards bacterial growth. Adding acid to fish when making seviche results in the proteins being denatured, but the presence of pathogenic bacteria will be unchanged.
                  Not quite true. Vinegar does kill bacteria, but simply putting vinegar on fish will not destroy all pathogens it might contain.

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                  • #10
                    I have had raw eggs occasionally with no problem whatsoever. I remember reading somewhere that extra caution needs to be applied when cracking the egg, so there is minimal contact with the outer surface of the eggshell.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by quikky View Post
                      Not quite true. Vinegar does kill bacteria, but simply putting vinegar on fish will not destroy all pathogens it might contain.
                      The amount of vinegar in pickles might kill some bacteria. The amount that is put into mayonnaise does not. It barely adjusts the pH of the mayonnaise down. That's enough to retard bacterial growth, not enough to kill bacteria.

                      Leaving homemade mayonnaise out on the counter for an hour after making it does not sterilize it. There is zero science behind that dangerous idea.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by eKatherine View Post
                        The amount of vinegar in pickles might kill some bacteria. The amount that is put into mayonnaise does not. It barely adjusts the pH of the mayonnaise down. That's enough to retard bacterial growth, not enough to kill bacteria.

                        Leaving homemade mayonnaise out on the counter for an hour after making it does not sterilize it. There is zero science behind that dangerous idea.
                        I was talking about your reference to ceviche specifically, not mayonnaise.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Graycat View Post
                          I have had raw eggs occasionally with no problem whatsoever. I remember reading somewhere that extra caution needs to be applied when cracking the egg, so there is minimal contact with the outer surface of the eggshell.
                          Yeah, I've read that too. Particularly just washing the shell before you crack it removes the very slight possibility of a bad reaction when you are talking about well raised hens.

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                          • #14
                            Eggs in Europe are not in refrigerators because Europe has taken a completely different chicken-to-consumer safety path which involves insuring the eggs are not exposed to water, including in refrigerator condensation. This path starts with almost all European chickens being vaccinated against salmonella.

                            In the USA the consumer is only protected via random testing, and no protection from water cross-contamination is made, starting with all the eggs from a producer sharing the same water bath. The salmonella ends up inside the egg, so consumer washing will not protect you (just like consumer washing of tomatoes etc has no protective function).

                            Two years ago 500 million eggs were recalled in the USA for salmonella exposure. Egg recalls have been steadily increasing for the last 18 years in the USA. Your clean neighborhood hen has probably NOT been vaccinated and there is nothing magic about how well she is taken care of that prevents her from contracting salmonella from the environment. Sooo... no argument can be made that raw eggs in the USA are anything other than Russian Roulette. Whether you want to play is up to you.

                            ETA: The only thing special about your neighborhood hen is that she or her friends would need to have salmonella for your egg to have salmonella, rather than just one hen in hundreds whose eggs went into the same bath. Similar to how your local burger is only going to have a couple of cows in it with their bugs rather than thousands of cows and their bugs.
                            Last edited by loafingcactus; 07-26-2013, 09:50 AM.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by aspexil
                              When I lived in Europe (granted, back in the 90s) eggs in the supermarket were not in refrigerators.
                              That's because the eggs are not washed. Eggs have a natural coating that protects the shell which is porous, when eggs are washed that protection is destroyed and the egg must then be refrigerated. God forbid we should see a little poop on an egg shell!
                              We keep our own hens and do not wash their eggs.
                              Life is death. We all take turns. It's sacred to eat during our turn and be eaten when our turn is over. RichMahogany.

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