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Undercooked eggs pose Salmonella threat

Jan. 29, 2013 at 1:58 AM

ATLANTA, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Eggs are a nutritious and economical food, but U.S. officials say in about a four-month period 1,600 reported cases of Salmonella were reported.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said thorough cooking is an important step in making sure eggs are safe:

-- Scrambled eggs: Cook until firm, not runny.

-- Fried, poached, boiled, or baked: Cook until both the white and the yolk are firm.

-- Egg mixtures, such as casseroles: Cook until the center of the mixture reaches 160 degrees F when measured with a food thermometer.

Homemade ice cream and eggnog are safe if you do one of the following:

-- Use a cooked egg-milk mixture. Heat it gently and use a food thermometer to ensure that it reaches 160 degrees F.

-- Use pasteurized eggs or egg products.

-- Dry meringue shells, divinity candy, and 7-minute frosting are safe -- these are made by combining hot sugar syrup with beaten egg whites. However, avoid icing recipes using uncooked eggs or egg whites.

-- Meringue-topped pies should be safe if baked at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes. But avoid chiffon pies and fruit whips made with raw, beaten egg whites, instead, substitute pasteurized dried egg whites, whipped cream, or a whipped topping.

If a recipe calls for uncooked eggs, make it safe by doing one of the following:

-- Heating the eggs in one of the recipe's other liquid ingredients over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F.

-- Use pasteurized eggs or egg products.

Note: Egg products, such as liquid or frozen egg substitute, are pasteurized, so it's safe to use them in recipes that will be not be cooked. However, it's best to use egg products in a recipe that will be cooked, especially if you are serving pregnant women, babies, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.

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