By Dr Krishna Sahoo
From simple scrambled eggs to the trendy shakshuka, Indians enjoy eggs in so many different and delicious ways. Eggs are also incredibly nutritious – they contain protein, healthy fats, and many nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, choline, iron and folate and hence is a first choice to all the gym lovers as well as dieticians.
However, current situation has made everyone more concerned about the hygiene practices and the quality of meat and eggs that they consume. They are now more inclined to buy branded eggs and meat which gives them the assurance of the best hygiene & quality. Additionally, such brands also attract them as they are also free from antibiotics, low cholesterol & fortified with vit D, A, E, etc.
From omega-3 to organic eggs there are so many types available in the market, as per your needs, we just need to select it right and avoid the bad.
The quality of an egg depends on the feed, feed additives, climatic conditions, the amount of water consumed, farm & environment hygiene, transportation, the number of hours they spend in daylight, and even their breathing patterns influence the composition of the egg in commercial layers. This all might sound a little to much, but here we have a few quick tips on selecting the right egg
Where to buy?
Always buy your eggs from a reputed vendor who has better hygienic facilities to store eggs. As proper storage ensures that the eggs have lower risk of contamination from potential infections like
Salmonella which can be introduced during storage by transmitting vectors. It is an added advantage if the vendor is storing the eggs in a cool and safe place or in a refrigerated container.
How to select?
While procuring the eggs, do not buy eggs which have dirty or soiled shells as there are high chances that these eggs may have infections such as Salmonella. The egg shell quality is also of utmost importance while selecting the eggs. The egg shell should not be very thin and be devoid of any visible cracks. The eggs with thin and cracked shells are potentially infected. Salmonella tends to live on the outer shell of the eggs and will infect such eggs. A thin shell also means that the layer bird has been on nutritionally deficient diet or sick. And is more vulnerable to microbial attacks.
While most countries have taken measures to stabilize the surface of the egg from contamination, no such measures are in place in India. Salmonella bacteria are quite prevalent on and in the eggs collected from retail outlets. Salmonellosis is widespread in poultry farms and it affects the intestinal tract of layer hens. The bacterium is abundantly found in the water supply and feed in most poultry farms. Internal contamination happens either because the shell is thin enough to be penetrated or because the egg is contaminated by the hen’s infected reproductive organs.
Are your eggs antibiotics free?
Most eggs are sourced from producers who raise their poultry on growth promoters and antibiotics. When you consume the eggs, you end up ingesting antibiotic residues. The heat from cooking is not enough to break down the antibiotic residues inside the egg. If you fall sick, then similar group of antibiotics cannot work on the disease. India has the largest percentage of people who are immune to antibiotics, and the main reason is because of consumption of chicken and eggs having antibiotic residues.
Therefore, it is always a good practice to ensure that you are buying your eggs from a producer who has certified his eggs as antibiotics free.
Most of the good brands will ensure that they discard the cracked, thin shell and soiled eggs. They also pasteurize their eggs to ensure that egg shell surface have no contamination of salmonella bacteria. The eggs are produced by following best farming practices with good quality feed which is free from antibiotics.
The good producers will always use alternatives to antibiotics – like Bacteriophages, to control the pathogens like salmonella and to improve the production performance. bacteriophages, helps control salmonella and improves production performance.
The current situation calls for farming practices that can help reduce the economic and reputational risks of pathogenic outbreaks, and improved feed additives are a must for healthy and safe farm management.
So next time you venture into the market to buy eggs make sure you buy them from the reputed vendor or better you select them from a variety of Branded options which ensures food safety & high nutritional value of eggs.
Eat Healthy. Be Healthy !!
(The author is Global Product Head – Proteon Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd. Views expressed are personal.)