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Safe use of raw egg products

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Foods that contain raw or lightly-cooked egg are often used in restaurants, cafes, bakeries, catering and manufacturing food businesses and need extra care, as they can cause food poisoning if not handled correctly.

Large foodborne illness outbreaks have been associated with foods made from raw eggs including:

  • sauces and spreads such as mayonnaise, aioli, hollandaise and egg butter
  • desserts made without a cooking step, such as cheesecake, tiramisu and mousse
  • lightly cooked foods, such as custard, fried icecream, some ice-cream and gelato made on the premises
  • drinks such as eggnog and egg flip. 

Raw egg products need special care

Outbreaks can harm customers, and adversely impact the reputation or trading ability of a business. Raw egg dressings have been responsible for some of the largest foodborne illness outbreaks in NSW.

Businesses should try to use alternatives to raw eggs in foods which are not cooked. Alternatives include commercially produced dressings and sauces, or pasteurised egg products.

If businesses continue to use raw egg foods, special attention must be given to the safe preparation of these products. Egg dressings and sauces made with pasteurised egg pulp are safer than those made from raw eggs. Pasteurisation destroys disease-causing organisms such as Salmonella.

The NSW Food Authority has produced a fact sheet to assist food businesses in the safe use of raw egg, Safe preparation of raw egg products (pdf 201KB). Translations of this factsheet are available.

See also: Food safety guidelines for the preparation of raw egg products (pdf, 1MB)

Survey on use of raw egg sauces and dressings

In 2010, the NSW Food Authority and City of Sydney conducted a survey of the microbiological quality of sauces and dressings with raw egg in retail food businesses in the Sydney metropolitan area.  The survey also observed storage, handling and preparation practices.

The majority of businesses surveyed required improvement in:

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

For details and results see the Egg dressings & sauces (raw) market survey.

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