Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, November 20, 2003


Page 15



Pasteurized Egg Sellers Cluck at Column’s Egg-Bashing




Taking issue with last week’s column on eggs was Gregory M. West, vice president for sales and marketing of National Pasteurized Eggs, LLC, the outfit that dunks its eggs in hot water and sells them to Vons and other markets as “safe” eggs.

Here’s what he said in an e-mail:



Yesterday, I bought a carton of pasteurized eggs at Von’s (may the striking union forgive me). They were more expensive than conventional eggs, priced at $3.39 a dozen.

As far as West’s assertion that the eggs his company sells “look, taste and perform the same as farm fresh eggs,” well, I don’t know how an egg “performs.” As to the look, I can confirm that the pasteurized eggs have bright orange yokes (in contrast to the yellow ones in eggs laid by chickens that have had dye added to their feed). As to taste—there isn’t much of that. To be fair, the eggs are indistinguishable from the unpasteurized eggs you find in supermarkets. But they’re just not on a par with the eggs the milkman used to bring in days long ago, or the right-from-their-farms eggs Albert and Ursula Vera sell at Sorrento Italian Market in Culver City.

Just what are the chances of contracting salmonella from an egg? CNN reported on Dec. 8, 2000:

“The CDC estimates that one out of every 20,000 eggs is contaminated with salmonella. The egg industry, figuring that the typical consumer eats 250 eggs a year, predicts they’d run into one contaminated egg every 80 years. ‘So your risk is very small because that one egg you eat has to be undercooked,’ said Donald McNamara, executive director of the Egg Nutrition Center, an egg industry group.”

According to an article in the December, 2001, issue of Food Technology, Pasteurized Egg Corporation claimed the process of immersing eggs in hot water created a shelf life of up to six months. The eggmongers West works for (who bought out PEC last August) make no such claim. The eggs I bought yesterday (Nov. 19), which arrived that day, had a “sell by” date of Dec. 19.

It’s safety of their product they’re touting, not longevity.

There’s one possible use I might have for pasteurized eggs: in steak tartare. Raw eggs are an indispensable ingredient and, given the concerns about salmonella and the small degree to which the eggs add to taste as opposed to consistency, prudence might dictate use of West’s dunked eggs.

Then the only danger would be from mad cow’s disease.

But as to the eggs I fry and scramble, I think I’ll stick with the ones from Sorrento which taste like those I remember from my childhood.


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