The Hippo


Jan 23, 2020








Safe-to-drink homemade eggnog

From the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service 
1 quart of 2-percent milk
6 eggs
¼ teaspoon of salt 
½ cup of sugar 
1 teaspoon of vanilla 
1 cup of whipping cream, whipped
ground nutmeg 
Heat milk in large saucepan until hot (do not boil or scald). While milk is heating, beat together eggs and salt in a large bowl, gradually adding sugar. 
Gradually add the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture while continually stirring. 
Transfer the mixture back to the large saucepan and cook on medium-low heat. Stir constantly with a whisk until the mixture thickens and just coats a spoon. The food thermometer should register 160 degrees. Stir in vanilla. 
Cool quickly by setting pan in a bowl of ice or cold water and stirring for about 10 minutes.
Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, several hours or overnight. 
Pour into a bowl or pitcher. Fold in whipped cream. Then dust with ground nutmeg and enjoy.

Fact or Myth?
10 common beliefs about eggnog safety explained

By Angie Sykeny

 You’re at a family holiday gathering when someone hands you a cup of “grandma’s famous eggnog,” and you can’t help but wonder: Is this safe to drink? With reports of salmonella outbreaks and food experts urging people not to consume raw eggs, how is a beverage with raw egg as a primary ingredient OK?

The Hippo talked with Alice Mullen, a Food Safety Field Specialist with UNH Cooperative Extension, to set the record straight on 10 common beliefs about salmonella and eggnog safety, and to share tips for enjoying this favorite seasonal treat without risking a trip to the hospital.   
Fact or Myth?
It is possible to get salmonella poisoning from eggnog.
Fact: “Many eggnog recipes are made with raw eggs, which can be a source of salmonella enteritidis, a bacteria that causes foodborne illness [associated with] nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and sometimes fever. It’s definitely something you don’t want to have around, and it can really ruin your holiday.”
A considerable number of people get salmonella poisoning from eggnog each year.
Myth: “I don’t think it’s quite as common nowadays because there are so many commercial brands of eggnog available, so most people just purchase their eggnog [as opposed to making their own]. But it certainly can happen. The USDA [United States Department of Agriculture] advises everyone to not eat raw eggs or food that contains raw eggs, and that’s the way eggnog is traditionally made.”
Eggnog from the grocery store is safe to drink.
Fact: “The eggnog you buy in the store is pasteurized, which means the eggs used were heated to 160 degrees, and that heat kills the salmonella. There’s no danger if it’s been pasteurized.”
You can make your own safe-to-drink eggnog at home.
Fact: “If somebody wants to make eggnog the traditional way with their own eggs … they can do a [pasteurized] recipe. Basically, you take an egg/milk mixture, heat it to 160 degrees and stir continuously [so] the eggs [don’t] curdle. The biggest thing is to use a food thermometer to make sure it reaches 160 degrees. … And remember, whenever you’re handling raw eggs, always wash your hands with hot, soapy water, and keep your kitchen nice and clean.”
Sterilizing the outside of an egg will ensure it’s salmonella-free.
Myth: “Eggs from the grocery store are required by law to be washed and sanitized, but salmonella can also be transferred from the hen right to the inside of the egg through the reproductive system before the shell is even formed around the yolk and white.”
Organic or free-range eggs are less likely to contain salmonella.
Myth: “It doesn’t matter if they are organic or cage-free or commercially raised, the chance is still there. It exists inside the chickens and their intestinal tracts… and it doesn’t make [them] sick, so you don’t know if it’s there or not.”
Eggnog opened after the “sell by” date can still be OK to drink.
Fact: “The date on the carton for any kind of dairy product is the latest date the store can actually sell it. It doesn’t mean the product goes bad or becomes sour after that date. Milk products usually last about a week after the ‘sell by’ date. … The recommended shelf life for commercial eggnog is two to five days [after opening]. If you make your own eggnog and have leftovers, put some kind of cover on it or put it in a tupperware container, keep it refrigerated at 40 degrees or lower and drink it within two to four days.”
Pregnant women, young children and the elderly should not drink eggnog. 
Myth: “As long as it’s pasteurized, it’s safe to drink. Young children, older adults and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to salmonella infection, so if those types of people are coming to your family party, that’s definitely more reason not to serve [unpasteurized] raw-egg eggnog.”
Adding alcohol to eggnog will kill any salmonella bacteria it may contain.
Myth: “Alcohol can kill some types of bacteria, but unfortunately, it does not kill salmonella. The only thing that will kill salmonella is heat.”
If you have an unfinished glass of eggnog or eggnog that has been sitting out for a while, it’s best to just throw it away. 
Fact: “When you drink any kind of beverage, your saliva bacteria gets into it, and if eggnog is left out at room temperature, that increases the chance of bacteria and foodborne illness, so just pour a fresh cup. If you [put out] a punchbowl of eggnog at a party, only fill it halfway and replenish it with cold eggnog [as it runs out]. If it’s been more than two hours and there’s still eggnog left, throw it out.” 

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