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Cracking Down on Eggs

Use common sense

Cook Them Well or Use Pasteurized Eggs continued...


And don't forget about dishes containing eggs, like stuffing and meatloaf. They also need to be cooked thoroughly, says Davidson. She suggests buying a cooking thermometer. Check all dishes containing eggs to make sure the temperature is 160 degrees or higher in the center when finished cooking.


Pasteurized eggs are available in test markets around the country for those who want to make, for example, a protein shake containing an uncooked egg or sunny-side-up eggs with a runny yolk. These eggs have been heated to 145 degrees Fahrenheit for three and a half minutes. Egg products in containers, such as Egg Beaters (essentially egg whites that have been colored), are also pasteurized.


"Pasteurized eggs are available in some areas, but not everywhere," says Davidson. "If you can't find pasteurized eggs, many chefs and cookbooks have done an excellent job of converting raw recipes -- like eggnog -- to cooked ones."


If a recipe calls for a room-temperature egg, half an hour on the counter should do the trick, says Berry. Don't leave eggs out longer than that. Also, casseroles and recipes that contain eggs should be kept refrigerated after preparation if you aren't cooking them right away. Even then, don't store them in the fridge for longer than two hours before cooking, she says.


In short, with the proper precautions, eggs aren't so bad after all. "Like any product that you eat," Davidson says, "you can avoid illness by knowing how to buy, store, handle, and cook eggs safely."


Michele Bloomquist is a contributing editor for WebMD. She lives in Portland, Ore.


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