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