Are Your Eggs Served With or Without Bacteria?


Foods prepared with raw shell eggs have often been associated with Salmonella bacteria food poisoning outbreaks.

The Environmental Health Specialists Network interviewed restaurants that prepare eggs to determine egg-handling practices.

  1. 54% of restaurants pooled raw shell eggs for later service.
  2. These pooled eggs were held a median of 4 h for scrambled eggs, 5.5 h for omelets, and 6 h for pancakes and French toast.
  3. Nearly 26% of restaurants reported storing eggs at room temperature.
  4. 5% stored eggs on ice or in cold-water baths before cooking.
  5. Generally, eggs were cooked to 72 to 83°C, which is above the recommended final cook temperature of 63 to 68°C.
  6. Employees reported sanitizing utensils used to prepare eggs less than once every 4 h in 42% of restaurants.

The authors conclude: “Several areas were identified in which further emphasis might reduce egg-associated SE (Salmonella) infections in accordance with Healthy People 2010 goals.”

If I translate this study for you I conclude that there is at least a 26% chance the raw eggs have been at room temperature before they are used and if you order pancakes or French toast they may have been on the countertop for beyond 6 hours. WOW. I am going to start making French toast at home.

Dr. Stueven


Author: Dr. Harlan Stueven, MD

Harlan Stueven M.D. is a Board-Certified Emergency physician with sub-specialization in Environmental Toxicology and Board Certification in Medical Toxicology. Starting his career in the USAF, he served as a Flight Surgeon and Environmental Health Consultant Physician where one of his duties was monitoring food safety. In his nearly 40-year practice, he treated a range of medical, surgical and poisoning emergencies. He has been a Medical Director and/or Chairman of several hospital-based Emergency Medicine Departments, served as the President of Emergency and Environmental Medicine consulting group, a physician group Chief Financial Officer and sat on many national, state and local committees. Dr. Stueven founded Dining Grades and the Dining Safety Alliance to improve food safety by increasing awareness of food borne illness and the formation of partnerships within the food industry. He is a consultant to the Wisconsin Retail Food Establishment Grading Work Group; a Co-investigator in a CDC funded “Evaluation of Health Department Restaurant Inspection Programs” project. He has presented at several National, State and Regional conferences on restaurant grading and food safety. He is an accomplished leader, medical researcher, a champion of process improvement, author, and national and international speaker.

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