Eggs Over Easy Not Recommended

I love eggs over easy for breakfast, but lately, I’m hesitant to order my eggs that way because of mixed messages I’ve heard about eggs and a recall. Can you tell me what’s going on and about the risk of eating my eggs with a runny yoke?

Crispy fried bacon, Sunny Side Up Eggs, arugula and tomatoes. Photo: Thinkstock. 

While many people enjoy their eggs over easy, an egg that’s fried just until the whites are set on the bottom and then flipped over and lightly cooked on the other side, leaving the yoke runny, is not the best choice, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Instead, the government agency recommends that eggs be cooked until both the yoke and the white are firm, to help consumers avoid foodborne illnesses such as Salmonella. In fact, the CDC recommends against eating undercooked or raw eggs, due to the increased risk of foodborne illness associated with unpasteurized eggs. In eggs, both the yolk and whites can be contaminated with Salmonella.

Salmonella outbreak linked to eggs is spreading across multiple states and has infected 35 consumers as of May 10, the CDC said. As a result, an Indiana-based egg farm has recalled some 207 million eggs for fear they may be contaminated with Salmonella, a microorganism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

The recalled eggs were sold in grocery stores and to restaurants under multiple brand names, including Coburn Farms, Country Daybreak, Crystal Farms, Food Lion, Glenview, Great Value, Nelms, Publix, Sunshine Farms and Sunups, with plant number P-1065 and the Julian date range of 011 through date of 102 printed on the carton, according the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Consumers who find they’ve purchased these eggs should throw them out immediately or return them to the place of purchase for refund, even if they’ve already eaten some and haven’t gotten sick, the CDC says. The CDC also advises that you should disinfect the shelves or drawers in your fridge where the eggs were stored.

Additionally, you should always wash your hands and any items that come into contact with raw eggs with soap and water. That includes countertops, utensils, dishes and cutting boards.

While some people with Salmonellosis don’t experience severe symptoms, others can have gastrointestinal distress, including diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps, within eight to 72 hours. And while most healthy people recover within a few days without specific treatment, some people may require hospitalization.

So, while it’s best to avoid eating raw and undercooked eggs, eggs are still a delicious, nutritious food. For instance, one large egg contains vitamins A, B5, B12, D, E, K and B6, folate, phosphorus, selenium, calcium and zinc, with only 70 calories, according to the American Egg Board.

It’s just best to eat them fully cooked.

Chow Line is a service of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line, c/o Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or turner.490@osu.edu.

Editor: This column was reviewed by Abigail Snyder, an assistant professor and food safety field specialist for CFAES.

Dark Chocolate Can Be a Healthy Option for Mother’s Day Celebrations

I want to give my mom a gift for Mother’s Day that she will really like and will be healthy. My sister said we should give her some chocolate, but is that healthy?

Dark chocolate has multiple health benefits, studies show. Photo: Thinkstock.

It can be, depending on the kind of chocolate you choose to get your mom.

While it’s known that dark chocolate offers some heart-healthy benefits, a new study out this month says the benefits of dark chocolate in moderation may also include improving your eyesight.

Dark chocolate has benefits because of because of its high levels of flavonoids, which are antioxidants that protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can alter and weaken cells, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Research has found that flavanols, which are the main type of flavonoid found in cocoa and chocolate, have potential influences on vascular health, including lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the brain and heart, and making blood platelets less sticky and able to clot, the Cleveland Clinic says.

In a study published in the April 26 JAMA Ophthalmology, a journal produced by the American Medical Association, researchers found that some people had a slight improvement in vision after eating dark chocolate. The study involved providing participants both dark and milk chocolate bars. Two hours after eating the dark chocolate bars, the participants were given vision tests and were found to have improved visual acuity and the ability to read letters of different sizes and contrast in terms of lighter versus darker letters.

“Consumption of a commercially available dark chocolate bar improves the ability to see low- and high-contrast targets, possibly owing to the increased blood flow,” the study authors said, however noting that it is unknown how long the effect on vision will last.

So if you want to gift your mom chocolate for Mother’s Day, you may want to consider dark chocolate. Milk chocolate doesn’t provide the same health benefits, as dark chocolate has more cocoa than milk chocolate. Dark chocolate often has less sugar and saturated fat than milk chocolate. Researchers at Harvard University Medical School suggest choosing chocolate that has at least 70 percent cocoa or more.

Chow Line is a service of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line, c/o Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or turner.490@osu.edu.

Editor: This column was reviewed by Dan Remley, Field Specialist in Food, Nutrition and Wellness for Ohio State University Extension.

FDA Warns Adults to Keep Kids Away from Liquid Nicotine

My son found an e-cigarette strawberry flavored nicotine pack and almost drank it thinking that it was some kind of candy. Luckily I stopped him in time, but are these products safe for kids?

Various flavors of liquid nicotine for use in electronic cigarettes. Photo: Thinkstock.

No.

As e-cigarettes have become more popular, the number of children who have been exposed to liquid nicotine has also increased.

So says the U. S. Food and Drug Administration, which this week warned parents, caregivers and other adults to be vigilant to keep kids from getting their hands on these packs of liquid nicotine and drinking them.

The new warning comes as data from the National Poison Data System shows that from January 2012 to April 2017, the agency received 8,269 calls related to liquid nicotine exposure in children younger than 6, mostly in regard to children drinking these products, FDA said.

So what are e-cigarettes and how are kids confusing the nicotine packs for something to drink?

E-cigarettes, also called vapes, are a form of electronic nicotine delivery systems that are battery-operated smoking devices that can resemble regular cigarettes. The e-cigarette is equipped with a heating device that converts cartridges filled with liquid nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals into a vapor, which a person then inhales, similar to smoking a regular cigarette. Some of the flavors of liquid nicotine packs include cherry, strawberry, chocolate, vanilla and mint.

These products have grown in popularity with teens and young adults. In fact, nearly one in four high school students use electronic nicotine delivery products such as e-cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.  A recent study from the American Academy of Pediatrics puts the number at 3 million U.S. adolescents who use e-cigarettes.

One of the issues of growing concern for FDA is that some of the liquid nicotine is packaged in containers that look like kid-friendly food products, such as juice boxes, candy or cookies, with some having cartoon images that “can seem tempting to children of all ages,” FDA said in a statement.

“For example, some e-liquids may have labeling or advertising that misleads kids into thinking the products are things they’d eat or drink—like a juice box, piece of candy or cookie,” FDA said.

The danger from such accidental exposure is significant for kids. Kids who ingest or drink liquid nicotine can experience a seizure, coma, respiratory arrest and death from cardiac arrest, FDA said.

As a result, the federal agency advises consumers who choose to use e-cigarettes to:

  • Always store e-liquids in their original containers, so others know exactly what they are. This will help children know to avoid these products.
  • Always make sure product caps are locked when you’re not using them, and relock caps when you’re finished.
  • Avoid contact with your skin and eyes when you use these products. E-liquid exposure can cause burning and irritation, among other problems. In case of accidental contact with skin or eyes, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Clean up any spills or splashes immediately using soap and water.
  • Never drink e-liquid, or allow anyone to drink it, because the liquid nicotine can be poisonous.
  • Call Poison Control immediately if a child accidentally drinks e-liquid, at 1-800-222-1222. Also call this number if you think your child has been exposed to these products—even if you’re not completely sure.

Chow Line is a service of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line, c/o Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or turner.490@osu.edu.

Editor: This column was reviewed by Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences educator for Ohio State University Extension.