Homemade eggnog—season’s sipping, sans Salmonella
December 12, 2013
WASHINGTON—While commercially made eggnog is available as early as mid-October, some families still prefer to celebrate the season with a homemade version.
Eggnog prepared from scratch with raw eggs can present a risk for salmonellosis, food poisoning caused by the Salmonella bacterium. Young children, expectant mothers and their unborn babies, older adults and people with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends making homemade eggnog with a cooked custard base. Combine the eggs and half the milk called for in the recipe, and cook the mixture gently to 160 degrees. Other ingredients, such as sugar, can be added at the same time. The cooked mixture should firmly coat a metal spoon, but don’t lick the spoon unless the custard is fully cooked. After cooking, chill the mixture before adding the rest of the milk and any other ingredients.
Rum, whiskey or other alcohol cannot be counted on to kill all of the bacteria in eggnog made with contaminated eggs, and the FDA recommends preparing the custard base even when using pasteurized eggs.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends refrigerating commercial eggnog for no more than five days or freezing it for no more than six months. Homemade eggnog can be refrigerated for 4 days and should not be frozen.
Other food safety information is available at the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service website at www.fsis.usda.gov.