Eggs - Issues for the Catering Sector
Can I use my own fresh free range eggs or local farm eggs in my cooking or for breakfast?
Yes as there is no specific legal restriction covering what type of eggs can be used in catering. If you are using your own eggs from your own farm, the flock (regardless of the size) must be registered under animal health regulations with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. FSAI recommends that the flock is periodically tested for Salmonella. In this way you can demonstrate to your EHO that you have considered the risk and are verifying controls by flock testing. Testing certificates should suffice as documentary evidence of these controls.
You may also use local farm eggs that are stamped and graded in compliance with the egg marketing legislation. The stamp is sufficient to demonstrate the safety of the egg as these flocks have to be tested for Salmonella under the control of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Can I use unstamped/ungraded eggs in my cooking or for breakfast?
You should not use unstamped/ungraded eggs from any source other than your own farm. Unstamped eggs can only legally be sold when produced by a flock that consists of less than 50 hens, above this number of birds, the eggs must be stamped and graded before sale. Unstamped/ungraded eggs from these small food businesses can only be sold directly by the producer to the consumer at local markets or from the farm gate or by door to door sales. They cannot be sold in any way to a catering or retail business. A responsible food business should never use illegal sources of food because legal requirements are implemented to facilitate food safety. If you are using unstamped eggs from farms other than your own, your supplier may be committing an offence. In circumstances where such eggs are used in ready to eat dishes that are not cooked then your EHO may require you to implement appropriate controls and/or change your supply of eggs.
Do I need to use pasteurized egg to make mayonnaise or other egg based sauces eg. Hollandaise or Béarnaise and can I make homemade ice cream with fresh free range eggs?
Yes. There is no specific legal restriction covering what type of eggs can be used in catering.
Caterers should be aware that sometimes hen eggs and, more commonly, duck eggs can contain Salmonella. Therefore, ready to eat foods, made with raw egg, that do not receive a cooking step to kill Salmonella are a potential risk to the consumer. For example, home-made mayonnaise, certain raw egg sauces that are minimally cooked and certain raw egg based deserts like home made ice-cream and tiramisu, represent a potential risk to the consumer if Salmonella is present in the eggs used during their preparation.
Your EHO will not usually require you to demonstrate that you are controlling the risk of Salmonella in eggs used for ready to eat uncooked dishes if you follow FSAI recommendations.
FSAI recommends that :
Pasteurized egg is the safest form of egg to use in ready to eat dishes
Bord Bia quality assured eggs are the next safest source.
Stamped and graded eggs not in the Bord Bia quality assurance scheme can also be used but the controls on such eggs may not be as strict as those used in the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme. However, all stamped hens eggs are sourced from flocks that are subject to statutory controls for Salmonella.
FSAI does not recommend:
The use of unstamped hen eggs as these are not controlled under the national Salmonella testing scheme.
The use of duck eggs in ready-to-eat foods that are not cooked, irrespective of source. These eggs are commonly contaminated with Salmonella.
If you do not follow the FSAI recommendations your EHO will require you to demonstrate that you are controlling the risk of Salmonella in eggs.
Last reviewed: 9/11/2011