The Egg Handling Handbook

Why is egg safety a concern?

Eggs can be part of a healthy diet. However, they are perishable, just like raw meat,poultry and fish. To be safe, they must be properly refrigerated and cooked. Also todaysome unbroken shell eggs may contain bacteria that can make you sick unless the eggsare carefully handled. This bacteria is Salmonella enteritidis. While the number of eggsaffected is less than one in ten thousand, there have been scattered outbreaks in the lastfew years. Currently the government, the egg industry and the scientific community areworking together to solve the problem.

What part of the egg carries the bacteria?

Researchers say the salmonella bacteria are usually in the yolk or yellow. But theycan't rule out its presence in egg whites. So everyone is advised against eating raw orundercooked egg yolks, whites or products containing them.

Who should be extra-careful?

People with health problems, the very young, the elderly and pregnant women ( therisk is to the unborn child) are particularly vulnerable to Salmonella enteritidisinfections. Health problems could be a chronic illness or any condition which weakensthe immune system.

What can you do at home?

Proper refrigeration, cooking and handling should solve most "egg" problems. Youcan continue to enjoy eggs and egg-rich foods if you follow these safe handling guidelines.

To be egg-safe:

1. Avoid eating raw eggs or foods that contain them. This includes "health food" milkshakes and raw eggs. Caesar salad, Hollandaise sauce, and any other food likehomemade mayonnaise, ice cream, or eggnog made from recipes in which the raw eggingredients are not cooked.

2. At the store, choose Grade A or AA eggs with clean, uncracked shells. Make sure theyhave been refrigerated in the store. Any bacteria present in an egg can grow quickly atroom temperature.

3. Refrigerating eggs - Take eggs straight home to the refrigerator. A home refrigeratorshould be running at 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Store them in the grocery carton in thecoolest part of the refrigerator, not in the door. Don't wash eggs. You'll remove aprotective coating applied at the packing plant.

4. How long will eggs keep in the refrigerator? Use raw shell eggs within 3 to 5 weeks.Hard-cooked eggs will keep 1 week. Use leftover yolks and whites within 4 days.

5. How long will eggs keep frozen? About 6 months. You can freeze white separately.For whole eggs, beat yolks and whites together.If eggs freeze accidentally in their shells,keep them frozen until needed. Defrost in the refrigerator. Discard any with crackedshells.

6. Handling eggs- Wash hands, utensils, equipment and work areas with hot, soapywater before and after contact with eggs and egg-rich foods. Avoid keeping eggs out ofthe refrigerator over two hours. Serve cooked eggs and egg-rich foods immediately aftercooking, or refrigerate at once for later use. Use within 3-4 days.

7. Leftovers - Divide large amounts of egg-rich foods into small containers for quickcooling.

8. Cooking times-Fried eggs- 2 to 3 minutes on each side; 4 minutes in a covered pan.Scrambled eggs- should be cooked until firm throughout.Poached eggs- Cook 5 minutes over boiling waterSoft-cooked eggs- Cook in the shell 7 minutes.

9. Safer egg recipes- Update recipes for Caesar salad, Hollandaise sauce, homemademayonnaise, salad dressing and other uncooked egg-based sauces by using commercialpasteurized eggs or egg substitutes. Egg mixtures are safe if they reach 160 degreesFahrenheit, so you can make eggnog, ice cream and soft custards from fresh eggs if youstart with a cooked base. Use a thermometer or heat gently until the mixture coats ametal spoon.

10. Easter eggs- Cooking removes the eggshell's natural protective coating, so hardcooked eggs are more susceptible to bacteria than fresh shell eggs. Refrigerate Easter eggsimmediately after cooking and drying. Do not leave them off refrigeration for over twohours during the hunt either. After your "bunnies" have found their eggs, refrigeratethe eggs again. They should keep for about a week.

Food Guide (Food Pyramid)

The USDA( United states Department of Agriculture ) published a guide in the year 1992 and is considered as a ready reckoner and a bible for any dietician or nutrtionist. The food guide pyramid suggested optimal nutrition guidelines for each food category, per day, using a pyramid with horizontal dividing lines, to represent suggested percentages of the daily diet for each food group.

Bread, Cereal, Rice & hoe Group

Grain products include foods derived from cereal crops. Cereals, breads, pastas, crackers, and rice all fall under this categorization. Grains supply food energy in the form of starch, and are also a source of protein. Whole grains contain dietary fiber, essential fatty acids, and other important nutrients. Milled grains, though more palatable, have many nutrients removed in the milling process and thus are not as highly recommended as whole grains. Whole grains can be found especially in oatmeal, brown rice, grits, corn tortillas and whole wheat bread. 6-11 servings of grain products are recommended per day.

Vegetable Group

A vegetable is a part of a plant consumed by humans that is generally savory (not sweet) and not considered grain, fruit, nut, spice, or herb. For example, the stem, root, flower, etc. may be eaten as vegetables. Vegetables contain many vitamins and minerals; however, different vegetables contain different spreads, so it is important to eat a wide variety of types. For example, green vegetables typically contain vitamin C, dark orange and dark green vegetables contain vitamin A,and bushy vegetables like broccoli and related plants contain iron and calcium. Vegetables are very low in fats and calories, but cooking can often add these 3-5 servings of vegetables in a day. They may be fresh, frozen, canned, or made into juices.

Fruit Group

In terms of food (rather than botany), fruits are the sweet-tasting seed-bearing parts of plants, or occasionally sweet parts of plants which do not bear seeds.
These include apples, oranges, plums, berries, and grapes, etc. Fruits are low in calories and fat and are a source of natural sugars, fibre and vitamins. Processing fruits when canning or making into juices unfortunately often adds sugars and removes nutrients; therefore fresh fruit or canned fruit packed in juice rather than syrup is recommended. The fruit food group is sometimes combined with the vegetable food group. It is best to consume 8-10 servings of fruit in a day. They may be fresh, frozen, canned, dried, or made into juice.
Note that many foods that are considered fruits in botany because they bear seeds are not considered fruits in cuisine because they lack the characteristic sweet taste.

Milk, Yogurt & Cheese Group

Dairy products are produced from the milk of mammals, most usually but not exclusively cattle. They include milk and yogurt and cheese. They are the best source for the mineral calcium, but also provide protein, phosphorus, vitamin A, and in fortified milk, vitamin D. However, many dairy products are high in fat, which is why skimmed products are available as an alternative. For adults, 2-3 servings of dairy products are recommended per day.

Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs & Nuts Group

Meat is the tissue - usually muscle - of an animal consumed by humans. Since most parts of many types of animals are edible, there is a vast variety of meats. Meat is a major source of protein, as well as iron, zinc, and vitamin B. Meats include beef, chicken, pork, salmon, tuna, and shrimp, etc.
However, since many of the same nutrients found in meat can also be found in foods like eggs, dry beans, and nuts, such foods are typically placed in the same category as meats, as meat alternatives. These include tofu, products that resemble meat or fish but are made with soy, eggs, and cheese.
Although meats provide energy and nutrients, they are often high in fat and cholesterol, and can be high in sodium. Simply trimming off fatty tissue can go a long way towards reducing this negative effect. 2-3 servings per day of meat or alternatives are recommended. For those who are ethically opposed to consuming meat or animal products (People who are vegetarians), meat analogues such as tofu are available to fill this nutritional niche.

Fats, Oils, and Sweets

Fats, Oils, and Sweets are at the top of the food pyramid because it is the smallest section, indicating that, while they do have nutritional value, they should be used sparingly.

By using this pyramid and including these in our daily diet we can lead a healthy life.

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