Eggs and salmonella

Having just listened to a new’s report about salmonella in eggs and the advice given I would just like to say:

If you cook the egg so that the yolk is hard you cause the fat in the yolk to become cholesterol only which may cause health problems. A runny yolk contains cholesterol and lecithin. Lecithin is a good fat and helps flush cholesterol out of the body. Eating eggs with runny yolks is healthier than eating eggs with cooked yolks. So fried eggs (quickly cooked in Extra Virgin Olive Oil) are healthier for you than scrambled eggs.

Eversince the first outcry in the eighties and Edwina Currie, I have never worried about salmonella and its effects. And that was a young mum with 4 young children. And no-one ever got salmonella poisoning in our household.

If you think of how eggs leave a hen, they must have all sorts of nasty bacteria on them. I am convinced that it is the germs on the shell and not washing your hands after handling eggs that causes problems.

ALWAYS crack an egg using a cup or knife and pour the egg into another bowl separate from your cooking/recipe/frying pan.
SMELL the egg before adding it to your cooking, if it smells fishy then thow away.
Do not be tempted to think that cooking will kill the germs in a ‘funny’ smelling or looking egg. Just chuck it.
(I had to do that the other day when I forgot to crack the egg into a separate bowl and added it to the eggs I was cooking. It smelt. So the whole lot got chucked. It is not worth the risk.)

The bacteria on the shell are there for good purposes and that protects the egg and provides its keeping properties. If you wash eggs after purchase and before storage, they will not keep so well and may become infected. (I heard about this some years ago that some housewives were washing the eggs to stop the bacteria spreading)

For this reason I do not put eggs in the fridge so there are no contact concerns with other foods. I keep eggs in their original box in the larder cupboard and use within two weeks. A cool dark place is sufficient. Eggs should generally be at room temperature for most recipes so having them in the fridge is not a good idea anyway.

It is contact hygiene we need to think about. It is our hands that spreads germs so wash your hands after touching each egg shell and before touching anything else. Think like a surgeon after they wash their hands to prepare for an operation, they hold them in the air and out of the way of touching anything but the patient on the operating table.


  • Think of egg shells as we do fresh meat especially chicken
  • When an egg shell touches your hands – wash your hands
  • When an egg shell touches a basin or cup or knife – wash the basin or cup or knife
  • When an egg shell touches a surface – wash the surface
  • In all cases of washing – HOT soapy water is sufficient.

We are so lazy about washing our hands because we have disinfectants and disinfectant wipes and sprays and bleach that we forget that if we washed our hands we wouldn’t need so many disinfectants.

Because miners/dock workers etc didn’t have facilities to wash their hands, their lunch of meat and two veg were put into a paste of flour and water with a curly edge formed for them to hold it with. This was how pastry came to be and the curly (crust) edge was thrown away when the meat and veg had been eaten. Their filthy hands never touched the food that was eaten. Interesting isn’t it?

Just another snippet of interest – this is where the phrase ‘Dropped a clanger’ came from. A clanger was a pastry parcel with meat and veg at one end and jam at the other and a wide crust as the handle. It was called a clanger. If it was dropped the meat and veg would get muddled up with the jam – a mess. Hence the phrase dropping a clanger – meaning making a faux pas or embarressing mistake.

Interesting websites:

Raw eggs

Egg Safety

6. Are Salmonella bacteria most likely to be found in the egg’s white or yolk?

Bacteria, if they are present at all, are most likely to be in the white and will be unable to grow, mostly due to lack of nutrients. As the egg ages, however, the white thins and the yolk membrane weakens. This makes it possible for bacteria to reach the nutrient-dense yolk where they can grow over time if the egg is kept at warm temperatures. But, in a clean, uncracked, fresh shell egg, internal contamination occurs only rarely.

So if there is salmonella in the egg, it is likely to be in the white which generally gets cooked anyway.
Use fresh eggs from a local source and keep for no longer than two weeks. My local eggs state on the box the date when they were ‘born’.

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