Tis’ the holiday season – to be wise with eggnog

When using raw egg products keep food safety in mind.

What is the holiday season without eggnog? Before the holiday season starts, verify your eggnog recipe to make sure it does not produce a foodborne illness. Salmonella has long been associated with raw eggs and egg products. It is possible for clean, crack-free eggs to still be contaminated with Salmonella. For this reason, Michigan State University Extension recommends that eggs and egg products be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit to kill the Salmonella foodborne illness bacteria.

The traditional winter holiday egg drink can be made with shell eggs, but it will be necessary to cook the eggnog to kill the foodborne illness bacteria. The basic eggnog recipe contains eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla. To kill the bacteria the mixture of eggs, milk and sugar will need to be brought slowly up to a simmer over low heat. To prevent burning of the mixture, frequent stirring is necessary. Once the temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit is reached, the mixture will start to thicken and coat a metal spoon. It will be necessary to refrigerate the mixture immediately. If a large batch of eggnog has been made, cool it quickly by dividing the mixture into smaller shallow containers and putting those containers in the refrigerator.

An alternative way to prepare eggnog is to use pasteurized eggs or egg products. In a grocery store the pasteurized eggs are located next to the regular eggs. By using the pasteurized eggs, there is no need to cook the eggnog.

Adding alcohol to eggnog to kill foodborne illness bacteria should not be relied on because the alcohol becomes diluted when mixed with the other ingredients.

By carefully checking the eggnog recipe before the holiday season, you will be serving a rich and creamy egg drink and not a foodborne illness!

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