Homemade Eggnog Can Kill Salmonella with Booze

on 13/12/12 at 11:00 am

Booze News

What could be more festive than a dozen raw eggs, a quart of rum and a pint of bourbon getting friendly in a pot in the fridge for six weeks?

Conventional wisdom would suggest eggnog should bring about a spike in salmonella cases every December, but it doesn’t happen. Call it a holiday miracle — or just call it science.

“Actually, it happens very, very, very, very infrequently,” said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. “We do not record an increase in salmonellosis due to eggnog. Otherwise, there would be a CDC health advisory.”

Unlike raw chicken, store-bought eggs rarely have salmonella on their shells because they are cleaned before they’re packaged, Schaffner said. On the rare occasion that the salmonella bacteria enters an egg, it’s likely one of the 800 salmonella species that needs to be present in large quantities to make someone sick. (On the other hand, up to 20 percent of store-bought chicken contains salmonella, and they have a lot more diarrhea-causing bacteria than eggs do, Schaffner said.)

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