Jan 5, 1998
Irradiation has been suggested as one way to reduce food poisioning from eggs, but it can sometimes damage the eggs. Now two inventors have developed a technique which minimizes this damage.
A number of different radiation sources, such as gamma-rays and X-rays, have been used to pasteurize intact eggs. However, the high radiation dose needed to kill Salmonella and other bacteria leads to two side effects - a deterioration in the physical structure of the egg white, and a revolting smell. This means the eggs cannot be fried or poached (but they can be boiled).
Patent 5700504 describes a method to reduce the problem. Before irradiation the egg is heated to 54 - 62 Celsuis for up to 45 minutes. This decreases the deterioration, and reduces the smell. Eggs packaged in sealed containers flushed with carbon dioxide, add additional protection to the egg white when undergoing this process.