July 1st is Canada Day, so being in New Zealand and feeling patriotic I decided to make butter tarts, a Canadian baked dessert (pictured right). While making the filling– which consists of brown sugar, eggs and cream — my flatmate had a spoonful of the unbaked filling. I warned her about the raw eggs, but she shrugged and tasted it anyways, saying it was delicious.
Since being in New Zealand I’ve noticed a difference in egg handling than in North America. Eggs are not found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, rather just on store shelves, and many consumers do not refrigerate eggs at home. Doug says it’s because the country just got electricity 10 years ago, and beer is the primary occupant of the fridge; however, a more scientific explanation follows:
The results of this survey are consistent with two previous studies in indicating an absence of internal contamination of New Zealand eggs and enumeration tests have shown that the number of Salmonella present on the surface of contaminated eggs is low.
The pilot study suggests that, in New Zealand, the risk to consumers from Salmonella in eggs is low. Food handling practices that minimise the possibility of cross contamination from shells will further reduce the risk.
I still keep eggs in the fridge, and will avoid the temptation of eating raw cookie dough.