Every time someone gives advice on how to avoid salmonella food poisoning, he or she suggests substituting pasteurized eggs that have been heated to kill the bacteria rather than the troublesome raw eggs.
Good advice. But pasteurized eggs just haven't been readily available for the home cook locally.
The wait is almost over. Table Ready Egg, a pasteurized and homogenized whole egg product from Papetti's Hygrade Egg Products Inc. of Elizabeth, N.J., should be in the dairy cases of Baltimore's major chain supermarkets right after Labor Day, according to president Arthur Papetti. The price: 79 cents for the 8-ounce size and $1.49 for 16 ounces.
Mr. Papetti says his company traditionally has supplied pasteurized eggs to manufacturers, institutions and restaurants. But the recent increases in outbreaks in salmonella enteritidis resulting from use of raw eggs, has broadened the market niche to retail. (Salmonella symptoms include severe diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting and dehydration.)
Table Ready Egg is made from whole eggs that are three to five days old. The liquid eggs are heated to 140 degrees for 3 1/2 minutes -- the U.S. Department of Agriculture's suggested temperature for killing salmonella bacteria. It's the same as the commercial product with one exception.
"In the commercial product, we add citric acid because eggs may be put on a steam table and would turn green without an additive," Mr. Papetti says. "The retail product is absolutely pure. . . . we don't have to worry about a consumer using a steam table and the egg turning green because they will be used right away."
Papetti's is also selling a pasteurized egg yolk product to white tablecloth restaurants for use in Caesar salad, chocolate mousse and hollandaise. But home cooks will have to wait for this one. Mr. Papetti says there is no timetable for sale of the egg yolk product to consumers.
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