Martha Stewart clueless about egg safety; says it's okay to store eggs on counter for a few days
Posted: August 24th, 2010 - 12:47pm
Today's Today Show featured a segment with Martha Stewart discussing her top 50 tips for creating a kitchen that's “not only beautiful but functional as well.”
Viewers were definitely waiting with pens in their hands to discover the Domestic Diva’s secrets.
Some of the household tips included: how to avoid breaking dishes while washing them; putting liquid soap in easy-to-use decanters; and the essential nature of multiple little dishtowels.
Then things got weird (see the video below, beginning at 3:55). Martha got a bit wacky with the eggs.
In attempt to show how nice eggs look on the counter as a decoration accessory, the Diva points to eggs in a basket and says, “We're having a big problem with eggs so everybody better be very careful where their eggs come from. But organically grown eggs from the farm, you can keep out for a few days on the counter”
Matt Lauer, somewhat taken aback by the statement chimed in and asked “Oh really, that's not a problem?”
Martha said, “Oh, no, no; not if they're fresh”
The big problem Martha refers to is the over 1,300 Salmonella Enteriditis illnesses linked to egg and egg products that have led to a recall of almost half a billion eggs.
The problem that Martha misses is that it doesn’t matter where eggs come from or the production practice, there is still a risk of Salmonella Enteriditis being present. Contamination comes from the environment, humans or rodents; multiplies within the flock; and, an infected hen can result in the pathogen inside the egg (infection occurs in the ovary).What is problematic about the pathogen is that while it may infect a hen or group of hens, it typically does not create any clinical signs. If Salmonella is in an egg sitting on the counter, even if Martha says it's okay, the bacterium can grow and create a larger issue.
According to a 2005 USDA risk assessment, approximately 1 in 20,000 contains Salmonella; even if they appear to be clean and uncracked.
The best available evidence suggests that eggs should be stored in the refrigerator/cooler and held below 45°F. The U.S FDA recommends buying eggs only if sold from a refrigerator or refrigerated case, checking that the eggs are clean and the shells are not cracked, and, refrigerating promptly to prevent egg-related illness.
Cooking is a valid control measure, Eggs can carry Salmonella and need to be cooked to 145°F for 15 seconds to reduce risk.
Audrey Kreske is a post doctoral researcher in the department of 4-H Youth Development and Family & Consumer Sciences at N.C State and avid Today Show viewer.