Pregnant women are always being told what to eat and what not to eat, and now they’re being told it’s perfectly alright to eat raw eggs, when previously it was a big no-no.
According to the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food, there has actually been a “major reduction in the microbiological risk from salmonella in UK hen shell eggs” since a report it released in 2001 that struck eggs off the ‘OK to eat list’ for mums-to-be.
Now certain eggs – namely UK hens’ eggs produced under Lion code or equivalent standards – are being considered “very low risk” and are back on the menu for pregnant women.
So why the worry originally? And who else can eat raw eggs?
Raw egg concerns
Who doesn’t like to lick the batter off the spoon when they’re baking a cake? The problem is raw eggs are regularly linked along with food poisoning – specifically due to them carrying salmonella bacteria. Contracting salmonella can leave you along with severe vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach cramps and a fever, and in serious cases it can lead to dehydration and a person can become very unwell.
Who is most at risk?
The NHS categorises babies and young toddlers, the elderly and people who are already poorly, as most at risk. And of course, until recently, pregnant women were considered at risk as well. That leaves those who are fit, healthy, not too young and not too old, free to eat runny and raw eggs.
How to beat salmonella
The very best way to avoid getting salmonella is to store eggs correctly (in a cool, dry place or in the fridge), eat them before their best before date and cook them thoroughly so the white and yolk are solid.
You can tell if an egg has actually gone off by placing it in a bowl of water; if it floats, it’s gone off. Alternatively, eggs that have actually been pasteurized (a process that kills off bacteria) should be safe too – they often come in frozen, dried or powdered form.
Are all eggs safe?
Unfortunately this brand-new statement on the safety of raw eggs is only applicable to certain UK hen’s eggs, so if you’re pregnant or in the at-risk group, always check who and where you’re buying your eggs from, especially while on holiday.
Have you ever had a problem eating raw eggs? Tell us your thoughts in the comments box below.