Our office has received multiple contacts regarding the use of unpasteurized eggs. The question is due to Avian Flu causing interruptions with the availability of pasteurized eggs. Several facilities have inquired as to the potential of using non-pasteurized eggs for hard fried eggs, scrambled eggs, and omelets.
Unpasteurized or raw eggs are considered “potentially hazardous foods (PHF) or Time/Temperature Controlled for Safety (TCS)” food. A primary agent of concern with unpasteurized or raw eggs is the foodborne illness, Salmonella. The strategy that must be in place to prevent this from occurring is to cook the unpasteurized egg until all parts of the egg are completely firm and to prevent any cross-contamination to ready-to-eat foods.
In the event pasteurized eggs are unavailable, the use of unpasteurized eggs is acceptable as long as the eggs are cooked appropriately. Unpasteurized eggs must be cooked until all parts of the egg are completely firm and must be eaten promptly after cooking. Unpasteurized eggs must be fully cooked so that the egg yolk is not liquid or “runny”. Unpasteurized eggs should never be eaten if raw or undercooked.
Pooled eggs are raw eggs that have been cracked and combined together. The facility should crack only enough eggs for immediate service in response to a resident’s requests or as an ingredient immediately before baking. Salmonella infections associated with unpasteurized eggs can be prevented by using pasteurized shell or liquid pasteurized eggs in the preparation of foods that will not be thoroughly cooked such as but not limited to Caesar dressing, Hollandaise sauce, egg fortified beverages, ice cream, and French toast.
The facility shall be aware of current CDC and FDA nursing home egg handling and preparation polices and have written egg storage and preparation policies that ensure resident safely. Waivers to allow undercooked or soft cooked unpasteurized eggs for resident preference are not acceptable. Unpasteurized eggs when cooked to order in response to resident request and to be eaten promptly after cooking must be cooked until all parts of the egg are completely firm.
Please refer to ServSafe Essentials and the CMS Regulations in the State Operations Manual (SOM) F371 for information regarding the use of eggs.