Making homemade eggnog without the Salmonella

Whether you’re an eggnog fan or not, someone is probably bringing eggnog to your New Year’s gathering. No, adding alcohol will not kill bacteria.

This is especially dangerous if you are serving people at increased risk of foodborne infections. Infants, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems.

Every year, this creamy homemade drink causes many cases of salmonella infections. The causative ingredient is usually raw or undercooked eggs. Raw eggs are a standard ingredient in most homemade eggnog recipes and give the drink its characteristic frothy texture.

Eggnog recipes vary, and using it as a coffee creamer or as part of a cocktail doesn’t mean bacteria can’t find their way and survive in the drink.

Here’s a helpful guide from the University of Minnesota’s Food, Health, and Nutrition Extension to keep salmonella out of your eggnog.

Uses pasteurized eggs
Eggnog can be safely made at home using pasteurized whole or liquid eggs. Egg substitutes can also be used. These products are also pasteurized. Using a pasteurized product means that it does not need to be heated further.

Heat up to 160 degrees debt
If using regular, unpasteurized eggs, use a recipe that cooks the egg mixture to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the egg mixture will be thick enough to coat a spoon. Follow the recipe carefully. Cool down at once. If you refrigerate a large amount of cooked eggnog, divide it into several shallow containers. After that, it cools down quickly.

Uses pasteurized eggs
If the recipe calls for raw beaten egg whites in the eggnog, use pasteurized eggs. Raw egg whites have not been proven free of Salmonella.

If you buy eggnog at your local grocery store, the eggnog is cooked with pasteurized eggs. No need to cook.

Salmonella and the resulting food poisoning can affect anyone, but is especially dangerous for some. This includes the elderly, pregnant women, and very young children. People with weakened immune systems who suffer from chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, liver disease, and AIDS are also at risk.

apple cider and other juices
Another drink that is often served during the holiday season is apple cider. Apple cider and most juices available in grocery stores have been pasteurized or otherwise processed to destroy harmful bacteria. You can find it in the refrigerated section of stores, health food stores, cider factories and farm markets. However, these types of products require caveats such as:

This product is not pasteurized
Therefore, it may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness
children, the elderly,
people with weakened immune systems.

If you are unsure whether the juice has been processed to destroy harmful bacteria, either do not use the product or boil it to kill the bacteria.

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