Why can you drink eggnog and not get sick?

Answered by Andrew Fritz

As a sommelier and brewer, I can provide some insights into why you can drink eggnog and not get sick. The key factor here is the process of pasteurization, which helps to ensure the safety of the egg products used in eggnog.

1. Pasteurization: Most commercially available eggnogs, as well as liquid egg whites used in various recipes, undergo pasteurization. Pasteurization is a process that involves heating the eggs or egg products to a specific temperature to kill any potential harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella. The FDA recommends that pasteurized eggs reach a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit or higher to be considered safe.

2. Safety regulations: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set strict regulations and guidelines for the production and handling of egg products. These regulations ensure that commercial egg products, including those used in eggnog, undergo the necessary steps to minimize the risk of bacterial contamination.

3. Quality control: Commercially produced eggnogs go through rigorous quality control measures to ensure the safety of the final product. This includes regular testing for bacterial contamination and adherence to strict manufacturing processes.

4. Shelf stability: Many commercially produced eggnogs are also treated with additional measures to enhance their shelf stability. This may include the addition of preservatives or using ultra-pasteurization techniques. These methods help to prolong the shelf life of the eggnog while maintaining its safety.

5. Proper storage and handling: While commercially produced eggnog is generally safe, it is important to handle and store it properly to maintain its safety. Always check the expiration date and keep it refrigerated at all times. Additionally, it is crucial to practice good hygiene when preparing or serving eggnog, such as washing hands and utensils thoroughly.

Personal experience: I have been involved in the production and quality control of various beverages, including egg-based products. The strict protocols in place to ensure the safety of these products are often a top priority. The combination of pasteurization, quality control measures, and adherence to safety regulations significantly reduces the risk of bacterial contamination in commercially produced eggnogs.

The reason you can drink eggnog without getting sick is due to the pasteurization process and the stringent safety regulations in place for commercial egg products. It is important to always check the expiration date, handle and store eggnog properly, and practice good hygiene when preparing or serving it to further minimize any potential risks.