NPR says take the fear out of mayonnaise: make it with raw egg yolks and a splash of boiling water

I’m not sure who fears mayonnaise, but Chef Simon Hopkinson tells NPR’s The Salt that folks do, and they shouldn’t if they follow his kitchen hacks.

“mayonnaise … is something that is such a pleasure to make, but people are often frightened of it and it’s one of the most delicious things.”

Hopkinson has two secrets for making mayonnaise at home. The first one is to spare your arms and use an electric whisk. The second secret is use a tall, narrow beaker, or a small pitcher, not a wide bowl. That way everything stays in one place and doesn’t splatter.IMG_4944

You start with two egg yolks, a blob of dijon mustard, a squeeze of lemon, salt and white pepper.

Throw that into the beaker and whisk it around a bit. Then comes the oil – he uses a mix of olive oil and peanut oil.

One final touch: a splash of boiling water to smooth the taste.

I’ve made dishes that call for raw eggs stuff like mayo, meringue and caesar salad dressing. The third tip Hopkinson misses is to use in-shell pasteurized eggs to reduce Salmonella Enteriditis risks; a pathogen worth fearing. There have been lots of raw egg dish-linked Salmonella outbreaks.

The boiling water won’t raise the temperature high enough to kill any pathogens. I just did a bit of a home science experiment. Just added a splash of boiling water, which I defined as a tablespoon, to half a cup of room temperature yogurt, my mayonnaise surrogate, and the temperature went up 6 degrees (77F to 83F). It took 3/8 of a cup of boiling water to get the mixture above 135F and resulted in a milky consistency.

Raw is risky – stupid college sports egg edition

I always thought college football was sorta dumb.

Rocky-egg+copyI ended up professoring at a U.S university, and would go to the tailgates for some food safety research and show I was a team player and let the admin types know I was alive (because going to meetings was like death and to be avoided).

Didn’t work out so well.

But this shows how idiotic U.S. college football can be.

And this dude is majoring in health and physiology.

Guess they don’t teach microbiology in Iowa.

This ain’t Rocky, it’s Salmonella.

Video is available at


Oldest person in Europe attributes three raw eggs a day to longevity

We all go, some later than others. I can’t imagine living to 115, or eating three raw eggs a day, but according to a New York Times profile of Emma Morano, she believes her age and egg diet are linked.
At 115 years and nearly three months, Ms. Morano is the oldest person in Europe, the fifth oldest in the world and one of only a handful of people whose lives have straddled three centuries.ITALY-articleLarge
In her time, she has watched Italy evolve from a monarchy to a republic that spawned nearly 70 governments in seven decades, with a 20-year foray into Fascism in the middle. She survived two world wars, and the hardship of their aftermath; years of domestic terrorism, and years of economic prosperity that transformed Italy from an agrarian economy to one of the world’s most industrialized nations.
Ms. Morano has no doubts about how she made it this long: Her elixir for longevity consists of raw eggs, which she has been eating — three per day — since her teens when a doctor recommended them to counter anemia. Assuming she has been true to her word, Ms. Morano would have consumed around 100,000 eggs in her lifetime, give or take a thousand, cholesterol be damned.
She is also convinced that being single for most of her life, after an unhappy marriage that ended in 1938 following the death of an infant son, has kept her kicking. Separation was rare then, and divorce became legal in Italy only in 1970. She said she had plenty of suitors after that, but never chose another partner.
Assuming the prevalence of Salmonella in Italian eggs is the same as the U.S. (and Italy has had their share of outbreaks linked to eggs), Ms. Marano probably has been exposed to the pathogen 5-10 times.

Raw eggs part of Australian food snobbery, not safety

Better Homes and Gardens on Australian TV Channel 7, is typical food porn laced with bad food safety advice.

During an episode on Oct. 24, 2014, Melbourne chef, restaurateur and food writer Karen Martini, someone who has been cooking professionally for more than 20 years, pushed the raw egg dressing agenda.

Sorry Australia – you still have an egg problem.

The New South Wales Food Authority has its own advice on raw eggs (see below and judge for yourself).

A table of raw egg related outbreaks in Australia is available at


162 sickened: Salmonella kiss of death for Canberra restaurant

When we go out to eat, which is increasingly rare, I always ask, does your chef use raw eggs in the aioli or mayo or something else that is not cooked.

godfather.death.kissIn Australia the answer is usually a convincing yes.

I try not to be an arse about these things, but what I do say is, look at all the raw-egg related outbreaks in Australia (see

) and then say something like, we’re fans of your food, that’s why we come here. Do you really want to lose this business you worked so had for because of a dip?

In May, 2013, at least 162 people who went out for a Mother’s Day meal at the Copa Brazilian in Canberra were sickened with Salmonella.

The Copa has, according to media reports, has quietly closed and sold.

After a final dinner service on a Saturday night in mid-June, the site of Canberra’s largest salmonella outbreak now has its lights turned off and had its furniture boxed up.

One story says the victims were sickened after being “served mayonnaise in a potato salad made with bad eggs.”

egg.farm_1This is a line often heard in Australia and elsewhere: the eggs were bad.

Maybe there’s some Salmonella-night-vision goggles I don’t know about. But do restaurant owners really want to make people sick, and do they really want to lose their business?

New South Wales says get crackin’ but heat it up first

An updated version of the classic kids game Clue might now have a food safety bent on it: the home chef did it, in the retail store, with the aioli. Following an investigation into a recent aoili/Salmonella-linked outbreak which caused over 130 illnesses, NSW (Australia) Primary Industries Minister Steve Whan was cited as saying in a press release:

‘Eggs are a delicious and nutritious food that can be enjoyed as part of a healthy, balanced diet but it is vital people are aware of how to prepare them safely.

‘Eggs can sometimes carry Salmonella bacteria and eating raw egg product, like any raw foods from animals can present a risk of food poisoning.

‘The risk does tend to increase when restaurants and cafes prepare large batches of raw egg deserts such as mousses or tiramisu, or sauces such as aioli, hollandaise and mayonnaise,’ Minister Whan said.

‘It is important for business to understand the risk of these products and be extra careful when preparing them.’

The NSW Food Authority strongly recommends businesses:

  • offer safer alternatives such as commercially manufactured mayonnaises and sauces,or
  • use pasteurised egg products for preparation of such foods as an alternative to raw egg.

Raw eggs have been linked to outbreaks in mayonnaise, Caesar salad dressing, hollandaise, mousses, icings and homemade ice cream. Check out our raw egg food safety infosheet here.

It was the aioli: Australian Salmonella toll in Albury rises to 111, linked to raw egg

The number of sick people has grown from 20 to 111 in a Salmonella outbreak linked to The Burger Bar in Albury, Australia.

The Border Mail reports that almost 20 of those have been confirmed as salmonellosis, up from seven last Friday, with the number expected to rise.

The NSW Food Authority yesterday revealed that home-made aioli — a garlic mayonnaise that includes raw egg — had tested positive for salmonella.

The Border Mail also reported The Burger Bar’s restaurant’s Facebook page has been flooded with community support and most people were sympathetic and have vowed to eat there again, with one writing,

“I have worked in the food industry for many years and no matter how clean your shop and kitchen are, and no matter how careful you are, sometimes there may (be) something slip through the safety net.”

Another described the restaurant as “one of the best eateries” in Albury.

While both comments may be true, it is absolutely dumb to use raw eggs in a condiment that is going to be served to hundreds if not thousands of customers. Further, Australia has had repeated, recent outbreaks of Salmonella linked to raw egg consumption.


Happy Canada Day Kiwis

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:

A 2007 survey of retail eggs for Salmonella found,

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.

Raw egg in hollandaise sickens 20 at upscale retirement home

Australia has had a number of outbreaks involving raw eggs in a variety of dishes. Why any aged care facility, even a so-called upscale one like RSL Anzac Village at Narrabeen would serve dishes with raw eggs to a vulnerable population like senior citizens speaks to the stellar food safety training underpinning their upscale care. Maybe they were trained by the same folks who think it’s OK to serve cold cuts to old folks in Canada – 20 died from listeria in Maple Leaf deli meats last fall.

The source of the outbreak is believed to be a hollandaise sauce that used raw egg, although the NSW Food Authority is still waiting for conclusive test results.

The suspected food poisoning occurred on Friday, January 23, when the temperature reached nearly 32 degrees at the RSL Anzac Village at Narrabeen. The high-quality village provides 750 independent living units as well as places for 500 people in nursing home or hostel level care.

A statement from the home’s management said, "Village management apologises unreservedly to all people affected by this unfortunate incident and continues to work with the public health unit to trace the source.”

It said the village served more than 200,000 meals a year and this was the first known episode of gastric upset relating to food services "in living memory".

The Minister for Primary Industries, Ian Macdonald, issued a warning about the potential health risks from eating food that contained raw or lightly cooked eggs.

He said the Government was launching an education campaign in view of a consumer survey by the Food Authority that showed people did not understand how to safely cook or store eggs.