Eggs are packed with nutrientsEggs are one of the most nutritious foods. Their protein is the standard by which plant and animal proteins are judged. Egg yolk is rich in cholesterol, which is not a bad thing considering a little fat in the daily diet is essential. But eggs can easily become a health hazard as fresh eggs contain Salmonella Enteritidis, a bacteria that can cause gut infection.
Raw eggsRaw eggs may cause self-limiting illnesses in the fit and strong, but these infections can be fatal in those with immature or weak immune systems in children, the elderly or diabetic and transplant patients and HIV/AIDS patients. Heating an egg to a temperature of 68 degree centigrade for 15 seconds will kill all harmful organisms. Egg-containing foods heated in the microwave should reach 74 degree centigrade for at least two minutes. All parts of the egg must reach this minimum temperature. Cooked eggs should be eaten within two hours; after this time, an egg's place is in a refrigerator. This is why packing eggs for a school lunch or a picnic is a bad idea. Hardboiled eggs stored in the fridge must be eaten within one week.Children and the elderly should not eat partially cooked eggs because it is difficult to ensure the minimum safe temperature of the core. Scrambled eggs, French toast, omelettes and mayonnaise can have undercooked egg in them, and that makes them unsafe for weak immune systems.
Avenue for infectionPreparing eggs for cooking is another avenue for infection. Wash hands, egg-containing utensils, egg whisks and other equipment, and work surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after contact with eggs. Store eggs in a carton in the fridge door and do not leave them exposed. Do not buy eggs with cracked shells (even if the white isn't running out). RAJIV M