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Egg Safety

It always pays to get advice from people who are really qualified to give it. As the former President of FREPA (Free Range Egg and Poultry Australia), Meg Parkinson is an extremely reliable source!

Meg left the following comment on my Speedy Mayo post, and I’m sharing it with you, with her permission. If you recall, Annabel Langbein’s mayonnaise recipe came with a recommended keeping time of two weeks in the fridge, which troubled Meg.  When she remarked on it, I mentioned that some chefs suggest refrigerator storage times for unshelled eggs of up to a week.

This was Meg’s reply:

Hi Celia

I understand your confusion.

I have been on the committees which drew up the egg food safety codes in Victoria and then Australia. I assure you that around 24 hours is the microbiologically correct advice for yolk and whole egg – especially if some of that time has been spent at ambient temperatures. Salmonella grows fastest at 32C and above but still grows at other temperatures. When it has started growing and then is put in the fridge, the growth slows down but does not stop. Salmonella can get into egg by bad handling such as dropping shell in the egg after it has been handled – especially if hands have not been well washed. It also can get in by contact with hands, bowls, utensils etc which have not been properly washed.

Egg white has anti-bacterial properties which does mean that it can be stored for a little longer. Household fridges usually run at around 8C not the 4-5C most people think they do.

Cooking kills salmonella quickly, as does hot water and soap. People get sick when raw or undercooked eggs are eaten under trigger conditions. These are, for example, when there is a combination of incorrect temperature, poor handling and made more likely if the eggs have been stored on the bench or stored in second hand cartons which have had broken eggs in them.

I make mayonnaise from our own eggs, laid that day, just before I am going to use it. If it is not eaten in 24 hours, I throw it out.  I know it is easier for me, as we have a lot of eggs, but since mayonnaise is so easy to make this way I think it is better to stick to the 24 hour limit.

Regards

Meg Parkinson

. . . . .

Some additional advice from Meg on keeping and freezing egg whites:

I would still keep egg whites for around 24 hours but 2 days is probably fine.  In Canada they say 2-4 days, but we say 2 days as our ambient temperature is higher (ie every time the fridge is opened warmer air moves into it).  At home, egg white is easy to freeze, just put in ice block trays.  When de-frosted they should be used immediately.

Meg also recommended the website of the Alberta Egg Board, with the caveat above regarding our warmer climate.  Thanks so much, Meg!

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