Inspect and clean eggs well

Top picks: Two styles of egg favoured by Malaysians are the half-boiled egg and fried egg. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians love eggs, a budget-friendly source of protein that can be transformed into a variety of delightful dishes with ease.

While enjoying an overeasy or sunny-side-up egg in our meals is pleasant, a food safety expert advised that it is crucial to ensure the eggs are carefully inspected, cleaned and stored before they hit the pan.

“Eggs, whether raw or half-cooked, must be washed thoroughly before cooking to remove traces of faecal matter and dirt.

“However, I would advise that eggs be cooked properly,” said Dr Mohd Redzwan Sabran.

The senior lecturer from Universiti Putra Malaysia’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Nutrition Department assured that eggs sold in the market, including “kampung eggs”, are safe for consumption as long as they are handled properly and safely, and purchased from reputable sources.

Mohd Redzwan reiterated that it was crucial for eggs to be thoroughly washed before cooking.

“If eggs are washed before storing, we should refrigerate them because washing removes the natural protective cuticle that acts as a barrier against bacteria.”

He said consumers should also follow the storage instructions provided and use the eggs before the expiration date. He recommended storing eggs in the refrigerator to maintain quality and reduce contamination risk.

“Check eggs for any cracks and avoid eating them if damaged. Proper food safety practices, including thorough hand and utensil washing after contact with raw eggs, should also be applied,” he said.

Mohd Redzwan’s advice follows a food poisoning incident in Gombak on June 8, resulting in two fatalities and 82 people experiencing symptoms believed to originate from a meal of fried bihun and eggs, according to the Selangor Health Department.

The Health Ministry’s Food Safety and Quality division also advises soft-boiled or sunny-side-up eggs to be consumed within four hours of cooking to prevent bacterial contamination.

In a series of posts on its official Facebook page, the division also recommended cleaning eggs before storing and cooking them.“Select eggs that are clean, free of traces of faecal matter, and not cracked. Keep eggs in a separate container and wash them before cooking.

“Always remember to wash hands after cracking eggs and before handling food,” it said.

The division added that consumers should also check the eggs for freshness.

“Fresh eggs have round, dense egg yolks, while the egg whites remain thick and do not spread too much in the pan when cooking. On the other hand, older eggs have flat, fragile egg yolks and the egg whites are runny and spread widely in the pan.

“It is essential to inspect the eggs’ condition and smell before thoroughly cooking them.’’

The division also recommended checking for any unusual odour even after the eggs are cooked.

“Bad eggs often have a foul smell even after cooking. If it smells off, do not consume it,” it said in the comments section.

While fresh eggs typically sink in water, older eggs tend to float, it added.

Public Health Malaysia also urged consumers to ensure that eggs reach the correct cooking temperature and get sufficient cooking time to avoid raw or undercooked portions.

“If preparing a large quantity to be served later, avoid using soft-boiled eggs, as bacteria in the eggs have time to multiply. The Salmonella bacteria can lead to severe food poisoning and even death.

“In conclusion, wash the eggs before cooking, ensure eggs are thoroughly cooked if in large batches and eat them within four hours of preparation,” it said.

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