Tips To Prevent Illness
"It must have been something I ate yesterday at the picnic!" How often do we hear these words when someone isn't feeling well after a summer picnic or family reunion? Keeping food safe from the germs that can cause food-borne illness is always a serious task, but never more so than during the hot summer months. Organisms that are involved reproduce very rapidly at summer temperatures of 90 to 105 degrees F. Homemade ice cream
One of the favorite staples of the summer months is homemade ice cream. Traditionally made with rich ingredients that produce a creamy treat, one ingredient, raw eggs, can put those attending the function at risk of serious illness. Many recipes for homemade ice cream begin with a base mixture containing raw eggs.
It is a common belief that as long as eggs are clean and uncracked, they are free of the bacteria associated with raw eggs, Salmonella enteritidis. Experts now know that an infected laying hen can transmit the bacteria to the inside of the egg as her body is forming it, before shell development.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one egg in 20,000 may be contaminated with the bacteria. Refrigeration and freezing do not kill the Salmonella but cooking eggs to a temperature of 160 degrees F does.
Salmonella enteritidis most frequently causes nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, headache, chills, fever and diarrhea. Symptoms
appear between six and 48 hours after exposure and may last up to a
week. However, some folks are more vulnerable to severe or even
life-threatening reactions to Salmonella enteritidis-contaminated food. Those who are very young, the elderly, women who are pregnant, and people weakened by illness are considered high-risk groups.
So what can a person who loves homemade ice cream do? Don't be intimidated. There are several safe ways to prepare your ice cream. First of all, update your recipes by using one of the following options:
- Find recipes that are eggless
- Use pasteurized eggs in recipes calling for raw eggs. They are
available in the refrigerator section of your local market and the container will be labeled "pasteurized." Pasteurized eggs may cost a few cents more, but the pasteurization process destroys the Salmonella bacteria.
- Use a recipe that contains a cooked custard base. The custard base must reach 160 degrees F., measured with a food thermometer, in
order to kill the Salmonella enteritidis. This is also the point at
which the mixture will coat a metal spoon.
And, if you choose to use a recipe containing eggs:
- Choose Grade A or AA eggs with clean, uncracked shells.
- Use only eggs that have remained refrigerated.
- Use the eggs with the recommended time limits, raw shell eggs within
three to five weeks and leftover yolks and whites within four days. If the
packaging states a "Use-By" date, adhere to it.
- Wash utensils, equipment and work areas with warm soapy water before and after contact with eggs.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and hot water during food handling and preparation.
So, continue to enjoy that homemade ice cream. Eggs are nutritious and inexpensive. Take advantage of their excellent qualities by
updating your recipes and food-handling techniques.