Salmonella bacteria is found in the faeces of most birds – including chickens. When faeces comes in contact with eggs, the bacteria is transferred to the egg.
Only about 1 in 20,000 eggs have salmonella present on the inside, but a much larger number have the bacteria present on the shell. This can be transferred to the inside of the egg through cracks, or if a piece of shell is dropped in with the eggs when they are being cracked for use.
Cooking eggs will kill the bacteria but there are number of dishes, such as mayonnaise, tiramisu or “egg flip” smoothies, that call for raw eggs. If these dishes are made with a contaminated egg, they can quickly become breeding grounds for salmonella bacteria.
Here are our six top tips for protecting you and your customers from salmonella poisoning when preparing raw egg dishes.
Avoid “home grown” eggs
If you know you are going to be using eggs uncooked, make sure they come from a reputable supplier. Never make raw egg dishes from dirty or unstamped eggs. Save the home grown eggs for cooked dishes.
Never use cracked eggs
Salmonella on the egg shell can quickly travel through cracks in the shell and multiply in the egg itself. Throw away any egg that shows even minor cracking and treat spilled egg white from a cracked egg as infected. Wipe it up with paper towel rather than a kitchen cloth or sponge, and disinfect any surfaces that were in contact.
Store raw egg dishes below 5°C until ready for service
Bacteria growth is slowed significantly at low temperatures. After preparing the dish, return it immediately to the refrigerator until immediately before service. One of Australia’s biggest salmonella incidents was caused by a batch of aioli left out too long.
Don’t store raw egg dishes too long
Make a new batch every day.
Look for safer alternatives to raw eggs
There are commercially available egg products that have been pasteurised.
Acidify raw egg dishes to PH 4.2 or below
Using vinegar or lemon juice to reduce the PH level of your dish to 4.2 or below will create an environment that salmonella cannot survive.