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Egg dressings and sauces (raw)

Raw egg dressings such as mayonnaise, caesar dressing and aioli are a major food safety concern.

A 2010 outbreak in NSW linked to aioli with contaminated raw egg involved as many as 179 cases is just one example.

Large outbreaks of foodborne illness involving these dressings continue to occur.

Raw egg dressings are often used in the restaurant and café sector.

In 2010, the NSW Food Authority and City of Sydney Council undertook a survey to determine the microbiological quality of raw egg dressings and sauces served in the café and restaurant sector in the Sydney metropolitan region.

The survey also collected information on food handling, product preparation, cleaning and sanitation and egg quality, to identify and highlight risks associated with poor handling of these products.

The project was funded in part by a grant obtained by the City of Sydney from the Food Regulation Partnerships (FRP) Special Projects Grant and the NSW Food Authority. Officer resources were funded by City of Sydney who carried out data collection and product sampling.

Survey results

In total 107 samples of raw egg products were taken from 46 premises and found:

  • 1 sample of caesar dressing was classified potentially hazardous due to a high level of B. cereus (31,000 cfu/g)
  • 13 samples were classified unsatisfactory due to high standard plate counts and/or moderate levels of Bacillus cereus
  • Salmonella was not detected in any samples tested.

On-site observation and a questionnaire was used to collect information on food handling, preparation, cleaning, sanitation and egg quality from 44 premises. It found the majority of businesses surveyed required improvement in:

  • temperature control of raw egg products during and in between use
  • date coding of final products containing raw egg
  • egg separation technique during processing to prevent cross contamination.

Full results are available in:

Table of contents
Executive summary
- Potentially hazardous foods
- Salmonella
- Raw egg dressings
- The Food Standards Code
- NSW Food Regulation 2010
Results and discussion
- Microbiological analysis
- pH
- Temperature
- Container type
- Shelf life policy
- Product preparation