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FDA Notes Holiday Foods an Egg-Related Health Risk

FDA warns consumers to cook eggs thoroughly or use those treated to kill Salmonella

THURSDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Patients should be reminded not to eat raw cookie dough and otherwise expose themselves to consumption of raw eggs during the holiday season, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Every year an estimated 118,000 people in the United States are sickened by consumption of Salmonella enteriditis-contaminated eggs and an FDA survey found cookie dough was a major culprit. Moreover, only a tiny minority of consumers -- 3 percent -- use a cooking thermometer when baking egg-containing dishes.

The FDA recommends that all egg-containing dishes be cooked to a temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit; that dishes containing raw egg, such as eggnog, be prepared with eggs that state they have been treated to destroy Salmonella; and avoidance of eating uncooked cookie dough. Eggs should be kept in a refrigerator, and cooked until the yolks are firm.

"Following these instructions is important for everyone, but especially for those most vulnerable to foodborne illness: young children; the elderly; persons with weakened immune systems due to conditions such as AIDS, cancer or diabetes, or treatments such as chemotherapy for cancer; persons with weakened immune systems due to steroid use; and persons with immune suppression after organ transplantation," according to an FDA statement.

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