New imported Japanese eggs claim to eradicate risk of salmonella
By Pat Gee firstname.lastname@example.org
Nov. 5, 2019
Those who enjoy eating raw or runny eggs in the form of a loco moco, eggs Benedict or Caesar salad, or who simply like stirring a raw egg into their hot rice, Japanese style, might want to try Tamago eggs from Japan.
Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser!
You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription.
Those who enjoy eating raw or runny eggs in the form of a loco moco, eggs Benedict or Caesar salad, or who simply like stirring a raw egg into their hot rice, Japanese style, might want to try Tamago eggs from Japan to eliminate the worry of salmonella poisoning.
The Japan Poultry Association is trying to persuade grocery chains, restaurant owners and the public that its Tamago eggs are the safest, and arguably the richest, due to a prodigious quality-control process from farm to delivery. It took 14 years of negotiations to receive permission to export the eggs to the U.S.
The association made its case before members of the food industry at a tasting event Monday at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel, where a special brunch promotion will be held at the hotel’s Deck. Bar & Grill for the next four Sundays. An egg station will use the Japanese eggs to fill orders in any style, in addition to the usual omelets.
The eggs are brown-shelled, from Jiyodori chickens raised on natural foods such as mugwort and seaweed. The eggs are known for their strong sweetness and full-bodied richness.
A condition of export is that the eggs are kept refrigerated at 44 degrees 36 hours after collection. The Japan Poultry group defines Tamago eggs as laid by chickens treated against salmonella; and that the eggs are cleaned, sterilized, graded and shipped according to stringent quality controls.
At the farm level, baby chicks are vaccinated against salmonella, their feed is heated to kill salmonella, and the chicken houses are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. (Paprika is also added to the feed to give the yolk a golden- orange color.)
At the factory, equipment is disinfected, eggshell surfaces are sterilized, blow dried and brushed with a sterilizing solution. The eggs are then inspected visually, then by camera; and broken and abnormal eggs are automatically weeded out.
Takahiro Kodera, general manager of MEC Foods Co. Ltd. (Maruto Group), said the sterilization solution is heated to 122 to 140 degrees, although he did not equate that to the pasteurization process used in the U.S. on a small percentage of eggs.
He said, through a translator, that he didn’t know what the retail value of a dozen Tamago eggs would be on Hawaii grocery shelves, but on Guam (a U.S. territory first to receive the exported eggs), they are selling for $9.99 a dozen, three times the price of American eggs.
Japan Poultry advisor Masakazu Arimune said though many people eat raw or undercooked eggs in Japan, only one case of salmonella poisoning was reported last year.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, an average 30 deaths in this country are caused by eating eggs contaminated with salmonella, out of about 79,000 cases of foodborne illness in general. The agency therefore recommends that people keep eggs refrigerated, cook them until the yolks are firm and cook food containing eggs thoroughly.
Eggs that have been treated to destroy the bacteria through in-shell pasteurization are safe to eat raw or undercooked, but that represents only a small number.
All U.S. Department of Agriculture-graded eggs and large-volume processors clean and sterilize eggs, but it is still possible for eggs to become infected with salmonella through the pores of the shell after laying, through the hen’s feces or in her reproductive tract, according to the agriculture department.