Still scared of eggs? Read this before you give up your omelet pan
I consider eggs to be the perfect food. Thirty years ago, when I was telling my patients to eat all the eggs they wanted, the medical literati and the surgical Aztecs were telling them to limit their egg consumption to one egg a week. Most patients thought, "If they're THAT dangerous, I won't eat ANY eggs. What does Dr. Douglass know?"
You couldn't really blame them-at the time, it was me vs. basically every other health authority out there.
But I really started defending eggs as the perfect food about 20 years ago when I was writing for the National Health Federation's Health Freedom News. By then, the egg was in total disrepute. Cholesterol phobia had gotten so bad that cardiologists were telling their patients to eat the white of the egg but throw out the yolk. This was the worst possible advice they could give them, since egg white, especially cooked egg white without the counterbalancing effect of the yolk, is nutrition-free, about as good for you as skim milk or Egg Beaters.
In fact, getting carried away with eating (raw) egg white on its own can lead to a biotin deficiency- a serious matter, especially in expectant mothers. (As a side note, the best two sources for biotin are liver and egg yolks. Some grains and vegetables do contain biotin, but the amounts are miniscule compared to those animal foods. Just another reason you should eat like a lion-not like a lemming.)
Eventually, the news seeped out that maybe eggs and cholesterol weren't so bad after all.
69 billion reasons not to worry about salmonella from eggs
At one point, there was a flurry of concern stemming from claims that eggs were a major source of salmonella contamination. Reports stated that the shell was impregnated with salmonella and not cleanable. Before answering this half-truth, let's look at a little chicken anatomy. Yes, eggs come out of the chicken's anus (euphemistically called a cloaca). So they are contaminated with excrement at delivery-no doubt about it.
But that really isn't a problem if you use some common sense. Just use an abrasive pad to clean the shell before you crack the egg. If you're really paranoid about the "salmonella menace," soak the eggs in hydrogen peroxide for 20 minutes before cracking them. And always look for cracks in the shells when you purchase eggs. A cracked egg is a reject.
The bottom line? There are 69 billion eggs produced and eaten yearly! The salmonella infection rate is 0.003 percent. You are about as likely to win the lottery as you are to get sick from an egg. And if you eat fresh farm eggs, the likelihood of your catching salmonella is reduced to about 0.0000001 percent. It just won't happen. At the risk of flogging the salmonella non-issue to death, I will add that most salmonella cases are mild and not even reported to a doctor.
A lesson in food preservation from an unlikely looking source
Now, as for rotten eggs: I've certainly known a few bad eggs in my time, but not one of them has ever come out of a shell. Rotten eggs aren't a problem, because the egg is perfectly designed for safe storage. Eggs are so beautifully engineered that you can keep them for months in a cool environment without worrying that they'll go bad.
The hen, dumb as she appears, knows a few things about food preservation. The egg white is a shield against invading bacteria. The white contains conalbumin, a powerful protein that prevents invading bacteria from getting iron-which is essential to their growth and multiplication. So any bacteria that try to invade the egg die of iron deficiency anemia.
Here's what to do
(1) Eggs are by far the cheapest way for people to remain healthy-the most economical way to a perfect diet for pennies a day. I bought eggs for a penny apiece when I lived in Turkey. Today supermarkets carry all sorts of different egg varieties that can range in price anywhere from 99 cents to $3 a dozen. The ones claiming to be organic are generally the most expensive. They may or may not be of the same quality as the ones you buy directly from the farmer, but there's an easy way to tell if you're getting what you paid for. The color of the higher quality yolk will be a bright orange, and the yolk itself will be firm and round. Cheaper, lower-quality eggs will have paler yellow yolks that are flat and easily broken. This is one case where it's worth it to pay a little more.
(2) Eat all the eggs you want, raw or cooked. If you are allergic to eggs, it is almost certainly due to the heated protein of the egg white. If you eat the eggs raw, mixed in other foods, the allergy won't be triggered.