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Why you should not wash eggs

For many Kenyans, eggs are a quick and easy go-to as a cheap source of protein.

With many vendors selling boiled eggs in carts along the streets, many have questioned the degree of cleanliness and whether such spots are a bacteria haven.

While some may completely avoid buying and eating the boiled eggs from vendors, others have gone a notch higher and opt to wash their eggs at home before cooking them.

However, professionals now state that it is both unnecessary and wrong to wash the egg before cooking it.

Kenchic assistant company veterinary Dr Kelvin Osore says in washing the egg, one risks making the bacteria on the shell get inside the egg. The shell is porous.

Speaking during an interview at his office, Dr Osore said if ingested, some of the bacteria may cause typhoid, food poisoning, bacterial infection, or salmonella.

Such food is seen as a cheaper alternative. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Kepha Ombacho, from the Ministry of Health’s Department of Public Health, in May this year said any amount of E. coli bacteria in food indicates the presence of human or animal faecal contamination, hence should not be consumed. 

“For any cooked food to be safe it must contain zero E. coli and a reasonable number of coliforms, which vary depending on the type of food, but should not exceed 10,” Dr Ombacho said.  

Dr Osore added that to be on the safe side, one should strive to buy their eggs from a verified seller.

“Ensure the egg has no faecal matter on the shell.”

Food expert Hosea Kandagor on his part, said E. coli bacteria are prone to cause contamination to food. 

“Contamination happens when these bacteria are transmitted to water or food through human waste or animal droppings. This happens mainly when such waste mixes up with water that is meant for consumption. Consuming such foods will make you experience mild diarrhoea and vomiting,” Kandagor said. 

This means sometimes it is hard to tell the source of the contamination, as it could happen during preparation or poor handling by the vendors at the point of sale.

Kandagor said sometimes vendors could be using dirty water to prepare the eggs and salads or dirty cutlery and even storage containers. 

Further, since the vendors also act as cashiers, handling food and money at the same time, this could be another source of contamination. 


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