When properly handled, lightly cooked Canada Grade ‘A’ eggs are not a concern for healthy individuals. There is a high-risk segment of the population that should avoid eating raw eggs or eggs that are not thoroughly cooked. This includes: people who are suffering from a disease or whose immune system is compromised, very young children, the elderly and pregnant women.
While regulated farmers, graders and retailers work to implement safe handling standards at all levels, consumers also have an important role to play to ensure proper handling practices are followed:
When preparing recipes using raw eggs that will not be heated or cooked before they are eaten, reach for pasteurized egg products. For example, you may want to use pasteurized eggs to make Caesar salad dressing and cocktails made with egg (such as ‘whiskey sour or eggnog’).
Pasteurized eggs are sold in whole egg or egg white cartons. Pasteurization means the egg has been heated to a specific temperature for a specific time. This process kills all bacteria in a raw food product. According to Health Canada, egg white must reach a minimum of 54°C (130°F) for 3.5 minutes. Whole eggs must reach a minimum of 60°C (140°F) for 3.5 minutes.
For more food handling information, click here.
Accidental freezing of eggs, especially in the winter is a common problem. If the eggs have broken through their shells they should be discarded. If the shells are still intact, the eggs can be thawed in the refrigerator and used in a thoroughly cooked dish such as scrambled eggs or hard-cooked eggs. Other uses are limited because once frozen the consistency of the egg yolk changes from a liquid to a solid (much like a hard rubber ball), and becomes lumpy.
How to Freeze Eggs: Raw egg may be frozen at -18ºC (0ºF) for up to four months. Egg whites can be frozen as is, in an air-tight container, leaving room for expansion. To freeze yolks or whole eggs, break them into a bowl, mixing gently without incorporating air to prevent lumpiness in the yolk, add salt, sugar or corn syrup (depending on the intended use) in the following amounts:
½ tsp. (2 mL) salt for every 1 cup (250 mL) egg
1 tbsp. (15 mL) sugar or corn syrup for every 1 cup (250 mL) egg
Place in freezer container, leaving room for expansion. Freeze eggs in small quantities so that only what is needed can be thawed. For easy storage, freeze eggs in an ice cube tray, then transfer to a plastic bag. Frozen eggs should be thawed in the refrigerator and used only in recipe dishes which are thoroughly cooked.
Hard-cooked eggs do not freeze successfully, as cooked egg whites will become tough and rubbery.
Laying hens are fed a nutritious diet of grains such as corn, soybeans, and canola and supplemented with animal source protein and fat to meet the nutrient requirements. Pork meat meal is a readily available feed ingredient that provides laying hens with high-quality protein/amino acids and energy, and contributes calcium and phosphorus for shell quality and bone strength. Specialty eggs like vegetarian brands are produced from hens fed a diet containing only ingredients of plant origin.
A study* by the Harvard School of Public Health found no link between eating eggs and developing cardiovascular disease in healthy individuals. In fact, limiting dietary cholesterol could lead to an unbalanced intake of nutrients, which increases the risk for other health problems. Eggs are a healthy choice, containing only 1.5 grams of saturated fat and no trans fats. *Hu et al. JAMA 1999; 281:1387-1394.
Leftover yolks can be stored in a covered container (cover with a little cold water to prevent drying) in the refrigerator for 2-4 days. These yolks can be used in recipes like hollandaise sauce for Eggs Benedict, or can be used to thicken sauces etc.
Egg yolks can be frozen as well - Beat in either 1/8 tsp salt or 1 1/2 tsp sugar or corn syrup per 1/4 cup of yolk (about 4 yolks). Pour into freezer container and cover with tight-fitting lid. Label with the number of yolks, the date, and whether you added salt (for savoury dishes) or sweetener (for baking or desserts). Substitute 1 tbsp of thawed egg yolks for 1 large fresh yolk. Yolk mixture can also be frozen in ice cube trays (1 tbsp portion sizes). Once frozen, place individual frozen yolks from ice cube tray in freezer bag to avoid drying out.
This discoloration is the result of a reaction between the sulfur and iron naturally found in eggs. It occurs when eggs are overcooked, or when there is a high level of iron in the cooking water. Although the colour isn't very attractive, the eggs are safe to eat and will still be nutritious and flavourful. An appropriate cooking time and rapid cooling of the eggs after they are cooked will prevent the formation of this grey or green ring.
Use moderate heat when cooking eggs. Cooking eggs at too high a temperature, or for too long at a low temperature, causes toughening of both the egg white and the egg yolk. .
Poached eggs can be made hours or even a day or two ahead. Under-poach them slightly and store in ice-cold water. Immerse in barely simmering water for one to two minutes.
A hen will sometimes produce double-yolk eggs at the very beginning or near the end of her reproductive life due to hormonal changes. When this happens, the shell forms around two yolks instead of one, creating a double-yolk egg. Double-yolk eggs are safe to eat and cook with. If substituting them for large classic eggs in a recipe, their additional volume may affect the outcome of the recipe.
In Manitoba, eggs travel from the farm, to the grading station, then to the grocery store within a week of being laid.
The best before date indicates the time the eggs will maintain Grade A quality, if stored properly. It is normally 28 to 35 days from the date of packing. If you use them after that date, they are better for baking, hard boiling or scrambling rather than poaching or frying.
Health Canada has released new infant feeding guidelines suggesting iron-rich foods as first foods for your baby at six months, including the whole egg. Iron-rich foods are needed to meet nutrient and growth requirements at this age. Health Canada says that there is no longer a need to delay or avoid potentially allergic foods for the prevention of a food allergy. For more information visit Health Canada's website.
In most cases, the answer is yes. Most often the antibodies against eggs identify chicken as non-egg and chicken can be eaten safely. In rare cases, the antibodies find a similarity between the protein structure of chicken and eggs and the child can react to both.
Omega-3 eggs are from hens fed a diet that contains either flax seed or fish oils. Both flax seed and fish oil contain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids which are important for lowering blood triglyceride levels and have been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
Vegetarian eggs come from hens fed a diet containing only ingredients of plant origin. The nutrient content of these eggs is the same as that of regular eggs.
Free-run eggs are produced by hens that are able to move about the floor of the barn and have access to nesting boxes and, quite often, perches.
Free-range eggs are produced in a similar environment as free run eggs but hens have access to outdoor runs as well. Due to the extremes in our climate, outdoor access is only seasonally available in Canada.
Unless the hens are fed a nutritionally enhanced diet, the nutrient content of these eggs is the same as that of regular eggs.
Processed eggs are broken then pasteurized and packaged in liquid, frozen or dried form. Though some products are available at grocery stores, many processed egg products are used by the foodservice and food manufacturing industries.
Low fat, yolk-replaced egg product contains egg whites and other ingredients. It is sold in packages containing two 227 mL cartons and can be found in the frozen foods section of grocery stores.
*50 mL (4 tbsp) os equivalent to one large egg
*One carton (227 mL) is equivalent to 4 1/2 large eggs
Dried whole eggs provide a convenient product for hikers or backpackers who wish to cook eggs without worrying about refrigeration or breakage. Dried eggs may be purchased at a store that sells hiking or camping supplies. The eggs can be reconstituted with water to make pancakes, scrambled eggs, etc. Follow the instructions on the package when using.
Dried albumen and meringue powder are sometimes used in baking. Dried egg whites contain only egg whites and can be reconstituted for use in recipes that call for egg whites. Meringue powder contains eggs whites and other ingredients including cornstarch and sugar, and can be reconstituted for use in icing or meringue recipes. These products can be found in stores that sell bulk food or baking supplies. Follow the instructions on the package when using.