Holiday baking: Be safe when using eggs

Many holiday recipes call for eggs as one of the ingredients, whether it is a cookie recipe, custard pie or a quiche for a holiday brunch.

Many holiday recipes call for eggs as one of the ingredients, whether it is a cookie recipe, pumpkin or custard pie or a quiche for a holiday brunch, eggs are an important holiday baking ingredient.

Michigan State University Extension and the Food and Drug Administration recommend that consumers follow tips to keep eggs safe. This requires that shell eggs be stored in the refrigerator, individually and thoroughly cooked, and promptly consumed after cooking. The larger the number of Salmonella bacteria present in the egg, the more likely the egg is to cause illness. Keeping eggs adequately refrigerated prevents any Salmonella present in the eggs from growing to higher numbers, so eggs should be refrigerated until they are needed. Salmonella is a type of bacterium and it can be on both the outside and inside of eggs that appear to be normal, and if the eggs are eaten raw or lightly cooked, the bacterium can cause illness.

For holiday baking and special foods made with eggs follow these tips:

  • Serve cooked eggs and egg-containing foods immediately after cooking.
  • Eggs and egg dishes, such as quiches or soufflés, may be refrigerated for serving later but should be thoroughly reheated to 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius) before serving.
  • Cooked eggs, including hard-boiled eggs, and egg-containing foods, should not sit out for more than two hours. Within two hours either reheat or refrigerate.
  • Do not eat homemade pies with egg-based fillings (including pumpkin pie) that have been allowed to sit at room temperature for two hours or longer. The reason is that bacteria will grow rapidly when the homemade pie is kept at temperatures between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F. To prevent foodborne illness, the pumpkin pie should be refrigerated within two hours. It’s okay to place the pie in the refrigerator if it’s still warm. This also refers to custard and cream pies.

Cookies are also a holiday favorite, whether it is a homemade cookie dough or packaged cookie dough you, need to cook the dough before eating it. Eating the raw dough right out of the package or mixing bowl without cooking could make you sick from bacteria. Cooking all holiday treats according to the recipe or package directions before you eat kills harmful bacteria that could make you sick.

To keep your family and guests safe from a foodborne illness and to keep your holidays happy follow these food safety tips.

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