The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Ford's picture


A recent forum on Pasta Carbonara and raw eggs prompted me to submit this post.  I make my own mayonaise and I use eggs that I have pastuerized in the shell.  Any time I prepare a dish that uses eggs that remain uncooked, I use this method to kill any possible Salmonella enteritidis (Se).



In research done by the M. G. Waldbaum Company in collaboration with the University of Georgia, University of Missouri, and North Carolina State University, scientists have demonstrated that whole eggs heated for six minutes at 133 degrees F in a sterile water environment eradicated the Salmonella enteritidis (Se) bacteria that was inside the eggs.  James Schuman of the M. G. Album Company reported the results in February 2000 at the Watt Poultry's Summit III on Food-borne Pathogens in Poultry, held in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Summarized from Food Chemical News, March 20, 2000, p. 4.
Author: Marc Doussard.  (See also eFOOD RAP, 10, Number 17, September 1, 2000, William D. Evers, PhD, RD, Cooperative Extension Foods and Nutrition Specialist, Purdue University School of Consumer and Family Sciences Department of Foods and Nutrition)

I place the eggs in a saucepan and cover them with an inch of warm water, heat the water to a temperature between 135°F and 139°F, and hold it in that temperature range for ten minutes.  I then pour off the hot water, run cold water over the eggs, and then add ice to chill them.  The egg whites may become slightly cloudy, but they are not cooked.


PastryPaul's picture

Salmonella from raw eggs is extremely unlikely. It has been estimated that about one egg in 30,000 is a problem whereas 1 in 7 chickens is likely infected ( so always wash your chicken well). Also, most of the time, any infected egg will have the bacteria on its shell, not inside.

Restaurants and other commercial establishments are obliged by law (in most jurisdiction that I am aware of) to use pasteurized eggs which is why you can't find a decent Caesar Salad or Pasta Carbonera anymore. Home cooks are under no such obligation. To be sure, a busy place may pass through 30,000 eggs every month or two so the odds are against them somewhat.

Make sure your eggs are fresh and enjoy, but avoid serving it to young children, the elderly, the sick or anyone who is immuno-compromised, just in case.

FYI: Although one strain of the salmonella bacteria is the one that causes typhoid fever, it is practically unheard of in the Western World. A case of salmonella poisoning will much more probably show up as diarrhea, headache, nausea, or stomach cramps. In fact, it is often mistaken for a stomach flu.

I don't think a 30,000 to one risk of a minor ailment is enough for me to forego my favorite salad dressing. Look into it and decide for yourself.

BTW: These figures only apply to eggs in the shell. Discard any eggs with cracked or broken shells and immediately refrigerate any eggs that you remove from the shell.

Further info:



G-man's picture

I'm going to second PastryPaul's post, and reinforce the 1 in 30,000 statement by stating, again, that this risk is minimized even further by utilizing proper egg handling technique. What I mean by that is, very simply, crack your eggs on a flat surface and not on an edge such as the rim of a bowl. It takes literally millions of salmonella bacteria to pose any sort of risk, and if you crack the egg on a flat surface, none of the bacteria on the shell will be getting in to the egg itself.

Having had salmonella before (from chicken that was undercooked by someone else) I still enjoy a real caesar salad or carbonara, not to mention meringue and home made eggnog. Salmonella, although not incredibly risky, is not at all pleasant, but if you use proper food handling techniques you'll be perfectly safe despite all the voices shouting at you that you need to be afraid of everything.

rcmullins's picture

I raise my own chickens, turkeys and quail and have made hundreds of dishes with raw eggs, including pasta carbonera and have NEVAH pasteurized an egg. Sounds like more propaganda from the food police who shivers when I drink raw milk or eat sushi.

EvaB's picture

and the teacher said to take the whole egg, (no cracks in the shell) and place it on a table spoon, lower it into a pot of boiling water, turn off the burner, and time the egg for 1 minute, to kill salmonella, I've done that for years and don't ever worry about it. Never had any problems with anything I've made with the raw egg, but boy oh boy, I've had spells of nastiness from store bought mayo, and let us not forget store bought Cesar dressing! My brother had to give up eating Cesar salads in restaurants and even at home with dressings that were commercially made! He said the taste just wasn't worth spending the 6 or more hours in the bathroom after!

G-man's picture

I came across this post on another site I visit regularly and thought, since you mention mayo, that this might be a good time to share it.

Making your own mayo is great, but until you get it down it can be kinda tough. Much like a soufflé, I believe mayo senses fear and breaks at the first opportunity. Anyway, the link is a mayo recipe that dispenses with the ages-old techniques and can be made in a couple minutes.

Ford's picture

I make all of my own mayonnaise, except in an emergency.  It is too easy not to.  Here is a recipe for you:

3 egg yolks*
1 tspn. dry mustard
1 tspn. salt
1/2 tspn. fresh ground white pepper
4 Tbs. (2 oz.) fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 cups (18 oz.) best quality corn oil, or to give mayonnaise desired consistency
* Note: The original recipe called for 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks.  I like a stiffer mayonnaise, and  so I have eliminated the egg white.  To avoid food poisoning from Salmonella enteritidis (Se) bacteria, use pasteurized eggs.

Using the metal (or plastic) blade of the food processor mix egg, yolks, mustard, salt, and pepper for 10 seconds, add lemon juice  while mixing.  Continue mixing, add oil in a thin stream.  Scrape sides and bottom, and mix again for about 10 seconds.  Store in a covered jar in the refrigerator.
Modified from Julia Child’s Kitchen, by Julia Child, Knopf, NY, 1982

You may also use a hand whisk, or electric beaters.  Save the egg whites and fry them for breakfast, they do have flavor.


nicodvb's picture

I'm really not sure, but I remember of having seen for sale pasteurized eggs years ago (whole eggs, not the brick with the pasteurized content). Since then I haven't found them anymore. I wonder why producers don't sell such eggs if it's so easy pasteurizing them and at the same time keeping them raw. For sure they have the instruments to run the process safely and easily.

G-man's picture

 I personally think that, while they might have the equipment, the additional cost of running all of their eggs through the machinery is not acceptable. Why go through all those steps when you can cut out a step? Time is money, those machines require power and power costs money, an employee has to be kept to maintain the machine and that employee costs money....etc.


I know that where I live, pasteurization is viewed as something of a mixed blessing by enough folks that grocery stores will, more often than not, cater to this crowd.

The problem, as I understand it, is that pasteurization is a "scorched earth" strategy to fighting food-borne illness. That is to say, while it does an excellent job of killing bad bacteria such as salmonella, it also kills any good bacteria and breaks down beneficial enzymes, vitamins, and other such things.

Some folks would rather risk the 1 in 30,000 to reap the benefit of the other stuff than kill off everything.


That said, I'd wager the risk of catching ANYTHING is significantly lower in eggs from chickens kept in a natural environment (outside, under the sun, pecking at things, waking up next-door neighbors at 8am when said neighbors are trying to sleep on the weekend after pulling a long night shift [ok, to be fair that was a rooster], etc) than chickens raised in cages, whether those cages are organic or not.