What is the danger of salmonella in 'home laid eggs' and how should I clean them?

Lotte Laat
  • What is the danger of salmonella in 'home laid eggs' and how should I clean them? Lotte Laat

    I have a question additional to this question How does salmonella get into eggs. This tells me that salmonella is mostly found on the shell of an egg. However, eggs are treated (typically washed) such that most egg shells do not contain any salmonella anymore.

    I eat eggs which I get from my mother-in-law who has her own chickens, so these eggs are not 'treated'. I was wondering a few things:

    • What is the risk that these eggs contain salmonella? Is this risk negligible?

    • Should I use supermarket eggs to make food with raw eggs in it, for example chocolate mouse, and only use these eggs for food which is heated?

    • If there is a risk, how should I clean the shells? (using hot water is not an option for eggs, of course).

    A related question might be Is it safe to eat raw eggs?. The answer seem to be yes, but here it also seems that it is about 'supermarket eggs'.

  • The danger of bacterial contamination is much lower in home laid eggs than in commercially produced eggs exactly because of the washing process that eggs go though in the US.

    See the accepted answer to this question:
    How long can I keep eggs in the refrigerator?

    Eggs are naturally laid with a protective coating on them that will keep out bacteria. An egg keeps for a long time in a nest after all.

    Commercially produced eggs are washed- I assume for cosmetic reasons- which destroys this coating and makes the porous egg shells very susceptible to bacteria.

    You should discard eggs that have damaged shells but other than that you can consider your mother-in-laws eggs much safer than any you could get at the supermarket.

  • If you need the eggs raw, you could submerge them in boiling water for 5 sec. That would kill any bacteria on the shell and the egg would still be raw inside. Put the eggs in cold water right away to prevent the egg from heating up by the residual heat in the shell. I have tried this many times and the eggs do not cook. If you are serving the eggs to very young children, pregnant women or someone who are sick, you should buy pasteurized eggs instead. But normally it's safer to eat eggs from chickens you raise, than the ones from a factory, because they are more healthy and their immune system is well developed enough to kill the salmonella itself.

Tags
food-safety eggs salmonella
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