Myth: If the shell of a fresh egg is smooth and un-cracked, it’s safe to eat raw.
Nope! Even the most perfect-looking fresh egg can harbor Salmonella germs inside. The Food and Drug Administration confirms this. However, choosing eggs with no cracks is always a good idea. Once eggs are cracked, new bacteria from the environment can enter them.
Myth: If I wash eggs before use, they’ll be safe.
That’s another myth. The reason it doesn’t work is that Salmonella bacteria, if present, are usually inside the egg. The microbes come from the reproductive tract of the hen and are passed to the inside of the egg before it hits the nest. Find out more about how Salmonella gets into eggs.
Myth: You can pasteurize fresh eggs at home in the microwave.
Sorry! Making raw or undercooked eggs safe from Salmonella isn’t a do-it-yourself job. Safest Choice™ uses a patented process based on extensive scientific development and precision controls. The US Department of Agriculture explains it this way: “The equipment to pasteurize eggs isn't available for home use, and it is very difficult to pasteurize shell eggs at home without cooking the contents of the egg.”
Myth: Organic eggs and brown eggs are safe from Salmonella.
“Organic” is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods. Explains the USDA, “Eggs marked with the USDA’s National Organic Program label come from uncaged hens that are free to roam in their houses and have access to the outdoors. The hens are fed an organic diet of feed produced without conventional pesticides or fertilizers.”
The color of egg shells is determined by the breed of the hens. Brown eggs are not more natural or safe than other eggs.
The bottom line is that neither organic nor brown eggs are safe from the Salmonella risk. In fact, in 2009, there was a large recall of organic brown eggs for Salmonella! Another egg recall in 2011 targeted organic eggs that had sickened six people with Salmonella illness.
By the way, in case you’re curious, no hormones or antibiotics are fed to hens that lay Safest Choice™ eggs.
Myth: Eggs from a local farm are safer than those from the grocery store.
Well, keep in mind that eggs in the grocery stores come from farms, too; you just don’t see the farm! The truth is that eggs in any farm environment come from chickens, and chickens harbor Salmonella bacteria. Even from trustworthy local farmers you know personally, the hazard is real. You will be safer choosing a fresh egg that has undergone all-natural pasteurization.
Myth: OK, but cage free eggs must be safe from Salmonella, right?
Unfortunately, wrong. Remember that Salmonella bacteria are “natural,” just like farms. Dangerous bacteria exist on all farms. Rodents, feed, flies, water, dust, and other birds can deliver Salmonella to even free range hens on the farm. Because of the Salmonella risk, all types of eggs are included in the FDA Egg Safety Rule. (If you prefer cage free eggs, you'll be happy to know that Safest Choice™ Cage Free Eggs are now available.)
Myth: Generally, eggs that can make you sick will smell or taste “off”.
You’re probably thinking of spoilage bacteria, which are different from germs that cause foodborne illness. The truth is that Salmonella bacteria are imperceptible in an egg. You can’t see, smell, or taste them. The only way to protect yourself is to assume that any egg could be contaminated with Salmonella—unless it’s pasteurized, of course.
Myth: Salmonella is only in the yolks of raw eggs. If you eat the raw egg whites, you’re OK.
Yolks are a common point of contamination, but not the only one. Says the US Department of Agriculture, “Researchers say that, if present, the Salmonella is usually in the yolk or ‘yellow’. However, they can't rule out the bacteria being in egg whites. So everyone is advised against eating raw or undercooked egg yolks and whites or products containing raw or undercooked eggs.”
Myth: Egg pasteurization is a form of radiation.
No. Actually, pasteurization uses one of nature’s most simple solutions for food safety—heat.