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Jamaica Health Tips Blog

knowing when eggs are safe to eat.

Eggs are one of the most economical and nutritious food known to man. It is important to however, not to mismanage eggs during the time of production through to consumption.  This is because mismanagement may compromise the safety and the quality of the egg and consequently facilitates the growth of microorganisms which can have deleterious effect on the health of the consumer.  

Eggs have been classified by many including the Food and Drug administration as being a potentially hazardous food. This is because it has being implicated in numerous foodborne disease outbreaks such as Salmonellosis. (FDA, 2001) According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, (2011), it is estimated that the average yearly production of eggs in Jamaica is at 120,977,659. Consequently there are approximately 16,200 unmonitored small egg farms contributing to the yearly production of eggs in the island, (Williams, 2004). This is of major public health concern because some eggs which you consume could be contaminated with deadly microorganisms that may result in loss of life.

 Most commercially produced eggs reach supermarkets within a few days of leaving the egg farm. If the market and the buyer handle them properly, they will still be fresh when they reach the table.  As an egg ages, the egg white becomes thinner and the yolk becomes flatter.

Blood Spots
Blood spots also called meat spots, occasionally found on an egg yolk. Contrary to popular opinion, these tiny spots do not indicate a fertilized egg. Rather, they are caused by the rupture of a blood vessel on the yolk surface during formation of the egg or by a similar accident in the wall of the oviduct. Less than 1% of all eggs produced have blood spots. As an egg ages, the yolk takes up water from the albumen to dilute the blood spot so, in actuality, a blood spot indicates that the egg is fresh. Both chemically and nutritionally, these eggs are fit to eat. The spot can be removed with the tip of a knife, if you wish.
 
  Table 1 : Showing the quality of egg from very fresh (left) to stale (right). 
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How are eggs handled safely?
Proper refrigeration, cooking, and handling should prevent most egg-safety problems. Persons can enjoy eggs and dishes containing eggs if these safe handling guidelines are followed:


  • Wash utensils, equipment, and work areas with hot, soapy water before and after contact with eggs
  • Don't keep eggs out of the refrigerator more than 2 hours.
  • Raw eggs and other ingredients, combined according to recipe directions, should be cooked immediately or             refrigerated and cooked within 24 hours.
  • Always cook eggs until both the white and yolk are firm.
  • Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature of 160 °F. use a food thermometer to be sure.
  • Serve cooked eggs and dishes containing eggs immediately after cooking, or place in shallow containers for quick cooling and refrigerate at once for later use. Use within 3 to 4 days. 

Source : Marcia Reid (lecturer) @ University of Technology, Jamaica.


8 Comments to knowing when eggs are safe to eat.:

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I have certainly learned alot from this site. Best Jamaican health site.
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judeen on Wednesday, December 04, 2013 2:05 PM
Really didn't know that blood spot on eggs mean that it is fresh. I will definitely make this my go to site.
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Loura Chong Reid on Saturday, October 18, 2014 6:33 AM
Thanks guys for visiting and leaving your comments.
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Cara on Wednesday, October 18, 2017 8:42 AM
I love eating eggs. They are my main dish for a breakfast for long long time. But when I've heard about Salmonellosis I was really concerned. I found very informative article about that problem, but it was written in German, so I needed a translation. My friend recommended me pickwriters.com. It's wonderful site, where you can find and pick a translation service which will fit your needs. So I got a translation and I found that the risk of Salmonellosis isn't the reason to stop eating eggs.You just need to be sure you're eating fresh and clean eggs.
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