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Eggnog Warning: Don’t Let Salmonella Ruin One Of Your Favorite Traditions

The FDA is reiterating their eggnog warning this holiday season.

Danger! Danger! Eggnog warning ahead!

What would Christmas and holiday parties be without homemade eggnog? It’s a tradition that’s part of lives of most American families for generations. It’s the only time of year they drink it.

Whey they hope shouldn’t be part of the tradition is if their friends and family get Salmonella because they didn’t make it right.

No one wants to end up sick to their stomach or even wind up in the hospital because they drank homemade eggnog.

That happens every year and the risk can be reduced if people take the proper safety precautions.

This is important if you are serving people at high risk for foodborne infections: young children and pregnant women (non-alcoholic eggnog), older adults, and those with weakened immune systems, experts say.

What’s responsible for Salmonella in the creamy drink? The Food and Drug Administration, which urges precaution in making the drink, says it’s usually raw or undercooked eggs that does it.

Eggs tend to be a standard ingredient in their homemade eggnog, hence the name of the drink. Without eggs, the drink wouldn’t have the same frothy texture that people enjoy.

What the FDA urges people to do to prevent Salmonella is to start their recipe with a cooked egg base.

That’s done by combining eggs and half the milk as indicated in the recipe. You can even add sugar during this step of the process.

The FDA says you should cook to mixture to reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees. You should mix gently but stir constantly.

What kills the Salmonella, if it’s present, is the cooking. That 160 degree temperature means the mixture will firmly coat the metal spoon.

One suggestion you should heed is not to lick the spoon if the custard isn’t fully cooked. That’s a bad habit many of us cooking in the kitchen have done when sampling what we’re making on the stove.

Once you’re done cooking the mixture, you should chill it before you add the rest of the milk and other ingredients.

Most of us think we can kill anything with alcohol but that isn’t the case when it comes to Salmonella in eggnog, according to the FDA.

“Some people think that adding rum, whiskey, or other alcohol to the recipe will make the eggnog safe. But, if contaminated unpasteurized eggs are used in eggnog, you can’t count on the alcohol in the drink to kill all of the bacteria – that’s not likely to happen,” the FDA says.

For those who want a different recipe to avoid Salmonella, you can make eggnog from substitute products or pasteurized eggs. Some even choose to make the recipe but that doesn’t sound tasty.

The FDA food experts say that with the egg substitute products, you might have to experiment a bit with the recipe to figure out the right amount to add for the best flavor.

What happens with a pasteurized egg is the heat process at low temperatures destroys Salmonella that might be present, without having a noticeable effect on flavor or nutritional content, according to the FDA. These are available at some supermarkets for a slightly higher cost per dozen.

The FDA’s message is that by following these handling and cooking practices, you can enjoy your eggnog without worrying about someone getting sick. Here is a great infographicFood safety graphic



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