Food in the News: What's the Deal with Pasteurized Eggs?

With Salmonella scares and this egg recall in the news, pasteurized eggs have been getting more attention than usual. Wondering if you should switch over? Here are a few things to know.Pasteurized eggs come in three forms: out of the shell in cartons, dried and powdered, and (increasingly) as whole eggs in the shell. Since eggs will start to cook around 145°, pasteurization has to happen below this temperature. Most eggs are pasteurized by holding them in a warm water bath between 130° and 140° for 5 - 45 minutes. After pasteurization, eggs are coated with food-grade wax to prevent further contamination.

Pasteurization kills potentially harmful bacteria, including Salmonella. There is some debate about whether the process might also kill or alter other healthful parts of the egg or affects its overall nutritional value, just as with pasteurized milk verses raw milk. Harold McGee in On Food and Cooking says that pasteurized eggs can be used in place of fresh eggs, but sometimes they won’t foam as much or coagulate as efficiently.

What do you think? Will you start using pasteurized eggs?

Related: Food Science: What's the Deal with Ultra High-Temperature Pasteurization?

(Image: Flickr member Maveric2003 licensed under Creative Commons)

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