I was reading a Women's World magazine and came across a recipe I wanted to try (it was called Lemony Eggs Florentine) and was thrown off by the need for pasteurized egg yolks. How do you get pasteurized egg yolks?
Someone recently told me they saw/heart that pregnant women should only eat pasteurized eggs. I was curious for a long time about that and started looking in the egg section at the store. There are pasteurized eggs and you can buy them in cartons. Who knew? One company that sells them is called Safest Choice. You can Google them.
Pasteurization works the same with eggs as it does with milk - they're heated to kill micro-organisms that might be potentially harmful. Pasteurizing doesn't kill everything, but significantly reduces salmonella and other micro-organisms. If your recipe specifically calls for pasteurized eggs, I'd bet it's because the yolks won't be completely cooked in the preparation, which wouldn't kill all the bacteria or other micro-organisms that may be present. The FDA requires all store-bought eggs in the United States to be pasteurized.
However, pasteurization is a process that came along after milk (and eggs) started to be mass-produced in large farming operations, instead of individual family farms. Keeping hundreds or thousands of animals all together in the same place increases the amount of bacteria those animals are exposed to. The practice of treating industrially raised animals with antibiotics (to reduce deaths from the extra germs they're exposed to) kills the weak germs, but actually allows some germs to become stronger and resistant to those antibiotics (and therefore more dangerous for people to consume them), which makes pasteurization all the more necessary.
A lot of people, including myself and the majority of small family farmers, believe that when animals are kept in a healthy environment (i.e. NOT in large confinement facilities full of poop and sick animals), and are healthy themselves, the risk of food-borne illness like listeria and salmonella is slim to none, making pasteurization unnecessary.
SO, it really is a matter of how germ-phobic you are, and how confident you are in the health of your birds. I frequently make hollandaise sauce, runny over-easy eggs, carbonara and other things with un-cooked or under-cooked eggs from my chickens. I'm confident in the health of my birds and the safety of their eggs. (I wouldn't eat them RAW, but that's another thing altogether.)
Says: "All egg products are pasteurized in the U.S due to the risk of food-borne illnesses. The U.S. Department of Agriculture does not allow any egg products to be sold with out going through the process of pasteurization."
I would assume, then, that egg producers don't feel the need to state that they pasteurize for the same reason they don't label their eggs as "washed"... Everyone does it, it's expected, and labeling it as such does not set their product apart from others.
I suppose you could contact the egg producers and ask?
Hmmmm...............after wondering if "egg products" is something different than a shell egg I looked it up. On the USDA website it says this:
The term "egg products" refers to eggs that are removed from their shells for processing at facilities called "breaker plants." The
processing of egg products includes breaking eggs, filtering, mixing, stabilizing, blending, pasteurizing, cooling, freezing or drying, and packaging. This is done at United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-inspected plants. Basic egg products include whole eggs, whites, yolks, and various blends—with or without non-egg ingredients—that are processed and pasteurized.
That's probably why - shell eggs are something different and aren't pasteurized unless noted.
Supernatural, yes you're correct, the eggs would be not fully cooked, so a bit of a sunny-side up runny type. So yes I can see where they would call for pasteurization. I guess I could still make the recipe with my own eggs. I have read that bacteria can be absorbed into the egg as it likes a warm place, so when washing your eggs they say to use warmer water than the egg.