Welcome to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service Food Safety at home
podcast series. These podcasts were designed with you in mind - the consumer - who
purchases and prepares meat, poultry and processed egg products
for your family and friends.
Each episode will bring you a different food safety topic ranging from safe storage, handling,
and preparation of meat, poultry and processed egg products to the importance of keeping
foods safe during a power outage.
So sit back, turn up the volume and listen in.
Welcome to “Food Safety at Home.” This is Gertie Hurley with the Food Safety and Inspection
Service. I’m your host for this segment.
With me today is Kathy Bernard, technical information specialist from the USDA Meat and
Poultry Hotline. We’re going to talk about a famous holiday tradition that uses raw eggs,
“eggnog.” Kathy will give us answers to some of the food safety issues about buying and
Hi, Kathy. Welcome to the show.
Thank you. I’m pleased to be here.
Eggnog, an annual tradition in many American homes, has its roots in Colonial America.
It’s a delicious drink to serve to guests and family alike during the holidays. America’s
first president, George Washington, had his own recipe. He was famous for holding festive
Christmas gatherings where he served his unique homemade eggnog.
Eggnog is available in grocery stores as early as mid-October. Many holiday cooks prefer
to make their own eggnog. Like other foods, we need to be food safe when preparing or
Kathy, what should our food safety concern be for homemade eggnog?
Salmonella is a main concern when consuming homemade eggnog. Eggnog can be unsafe
to consume if it is made with raw or partially cooked eggs. Salmonella may be present
if the egg mixture is not cooked to 160 °F.
Salmonella can cause foodborne illness in anyone. However, infants and young
children, pregnant women and their unborn babies, older adults, and people with weakened
immune systems – such as those with HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, and transplant
patients – are especially vulnerable.
How can we make our eggnog safe?
If you purchase your eggnog from a grocery store, make sure that it’s pasteurized. Most
commercially sold eggnog is pasteurized, but read the label to be sure.
And what do you mean by “pasteurized”?
Pasteurized means that the product has been heated to a temperature high enough to kill
any harmful bacteria that may have been present in the raw ingredients. Buy only pasteurized
egg products. Make sure containers are tightly sealed. Frozen products should show no
signs of thawing.
What about storage of eggnog. Can you freeze eggnog?
Refrigerate commercially made eggnog for 3 to 5 days, and freeze it for 6 months. Refrigerate
homemade eggnog for 2 to 4 days. We do not recommend freezing homemade eggnog.
How can a person learn more about buying or preparing eggnog?
Consumers can visit the FSIS Web site at www.fsis.usda.gov. That’s www.fsis.usda.gov.
Or visit us online for assistance from our virtual representative “Ask Karen” at
Consumers may also call our toll-free USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline.
That’s it for this week. We’ve been talking to Kathy Bernard from the USDA Meat and Poultry
Hot¬line. Thank you so much, Kathy, for your helpful guidance on how to be food safe when
buying or preparing eggnog. I’m Gertie Hurley and I’d like to thank you for joining us
for this episode of “Food Safety at Home.” And remember, “Be Food Safe.”
Well, that’s all for this time. Thanks for joining us today for another episode of
food safety at home!
For answers to your food safety questions call USDA's toll-free meat and poultry hotline
at 1-888-mphotline. That’s 1-888-674-6854.
You can also get answers to food safety questions online from our virtual representative
"ask karen" at www.askkaren.gov .
Let us know what you think of this podcast by sending your comments to
Thanks for tuning in.