The word salmonella indicates a genus of bacteria responsible for salmonellosis, a gastrointestinal infection caused by the consumption of contaminated food. We are talking about microorganisms, invisible to the naked eye which, when ingested, can cause severe abdominal pain, cramps, nausea and vomiting and which find their natural habitat in the intestines of mammals, birds and reptiles.
Among the most common and frequent causes of salmonellosis, the infection due to salmonella, we find pork and eggs; we will deal with the latter today, to find out not only how contamination can occur but also and above all how to avoid dangers and possible infections. What can salmonella cause? How does the salmonella bacteria die? From the choice of the product to the cooking, passing through a correct conservation and constant attention to hygiene, here are all the rules to follow to destroy salmonella and enjoy the eggs without any risk.
Salmonella: what it is
The term salmonella identifies a group of bacteria belonging to the Enterobacteriaceae family, microorganisms that find their natural habitat in the intestines of birds, reptiles and mammals and that cause, in humans, a gastrointestinal infection known as salmonellosis. Microorganisms known as salmonella are very numerous (almost 2000 serotypes) but the variants dangerous for humans, those that can cause salmonellosis infection, are about fifty and are more frequently diffused in pigs, chickens and hens; how does salmonella pass from the animal intestine to man?
The answer is in food and in particular in meat, milk but also in the consumption and use of eggs in the kitchen. In the case of eggs, the real risk is in the shell which, having been in contact with the animal's feces, can easily transform itself into a carrier of contamination and therefore of infection. How to protect yourself from this risk? The first thing is that hygiene is essential when it comes to bacteria, the second thing is that salmonella is a temperature sensitive bacterium; this means that cooking food significantly (almost completely) reduces the possibility of contracting salmonellosis because the heat destroys bacteria. In short, what to do? Let's find out in detail.
Eggs and salmonella: how to avoid dangers
Now that we know better about these small and not very nice microorganisms, we just have to learn how to avoid them and save ourselves from the annoying stomach ache. The fact that eggs can be a carrier of contact and infection does not mean at all that we must somehow give up on tasting them, but only that we need to pay attention to some small precautions, specifically, here is how we can avoid the dangers:
purchase: make sure you always buy fresh and intact eggs, preferably from conventional, certified and controlled sales channels;
storing: low temperatures can slow down the proliferation of bacteria, for this reason the eggs must be stored in the refrigerator, preferably on the lowest shelf where the thermostat oscillates between four and five degrees centigrade;
store the eggs in their packaging or in the special containers of the refrigerator; in this way you will avoid the shells breaking or the eggs coming into direct contact with other foods;
take the eggs out of the refrigerator only shortly before consuming them and do not leave them near heat sources; the sudden change in temperature could cause the formation of humidity and condensation, a natural habitat for bacteria;
eliminate the broken or damaged eggs; the bacteria present on the shell could come into contact with the inside and compromise the yolk and white;
if the shells are obviously dirty, clean them with a damp cloth, paying attention to wash your hands thoroughly before and after this operation;
cooking; if the recipe calls for cooking the egg, it is important that the yolk reaches a solid consistency, a sign that the ideal temperature has been reached for the elimination of bacteria;
for preparations that involve the use of raw eggs, use only very fresh eggs that go from the third to the ninth day after laying;
the remains of any recipe containing eggs must be stored in the refrigerator, in hermetically sealed containers and consumed within a maximum of three days.