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As in, is it safe to consume the leftover beaten eggs in an egg wash (in contact with raw chicken) to make scrambled eggs?

Today I made buttermilk fried chicken. In the process of prepping, I overestimated the amount of eggs needed for the egg wash and ended up with a relatively large amount of egg wash left after dredging all of the raw chicken. To prevent the egg wash from going to waste, I ended up making scrambled eggs out of it.

But then I remembered something about cross contamination and something about how raw chicken with raw egg was a no-no. I did cook the egg wash mixture immediately after dredging the chicken wings, but I also haven't eaten the scrambled eggs. Is it safe to consume?

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  • Interesting question - I'd assume (on no basis) that this is no different than the egg binding the breading - which is eaten happily, though it should reach a higher temp being fried and in a thin layer rather than a mass like the egg wash would be.
    – bob1
    Mar 13 at 19:35
  • If you mix the egg, breadcrumbs, and possibly a bit of flour together until it holds together, you can fry those up as a sort of breadcrumb latke. (Do a test one, then adjust seasoning)
    – Joe
    Mar 13 at 21:00
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    My family have always made french toast with the left over egg wash.
    – scotty3785
    Mar 14 at 9:59
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    I understand your concern, but I think there is little risk. To avoid all rish, you could make the egg wash in one bowl, and pour some of it into another bowl as needed. Use the second bowl to treat your chicken or baked goods, and the eggs in the first bowl will remain perfectly safe.
    – Wastrel
    Mar 14 at 14:36
  • @scotty3785 To clarify, is that leftover egg wash from the process of dredging chicken in it? Or merely as a batter for the bread (which wouldn't have the risks that raw chicken poses)?
    – yuritsuki
    Mar 15 at 7:24

1 Answer 1

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There is indeed a cross-contamination risk. The pathogen of concern is salmonella from the chicken, but salmonella can also be present in the eggs. However, cooking dramatically reduces the risk of salmonella. In this case, making scrambled eggs, as long as they are cooked well (the temperature has be at least above 145F (63C), but better if it gets to 165F (74C), should make the eggs much less risky. Hard scrambled eggs should be relatively safe. This assumes that you were working clean and this all happened within a relatively short time frame. I might avoid this practice if I were health compromised (older, pregnant, immunocompromised), just to be on the safe side...but I don't see a huge issue. The chicken, which has the egg on it, is going to be cooked and assumed safe at that point. The egg alone is not different (as a commenter above pointed out).

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    It certainly seems like the key is to go for fairly well done scrambled eggs rather than the runny sort some people prefer. It is a slightly different situation to the egg wash: Because the egg on the outside of the chicken is a thin layer through which the heat has to pass to cook the meat, it's guaranteed to be properly cooked if the meat is. That just means taking a bit of care to ensure all the egg gets up to temperature
    – Chris H
    Mar 14 at 6:13
  • would the safety be significantly different than just the eggs alone? Like does the chicken introduce a significant contaminant load in the eggs to make it unsafe in the egg wash, but safe "enough" if i were to use those same eggs fresh?
    – bracco23
    Mar 14 at 12:31
  • @ChrisH I agree.
    – moscafj
    Mar 14 at 13:02
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    @bracco23 that depends where you are. Here in the UK commercial eggs are from hens vaccinated against salmonella, and OK for anyone to eat raw. But raw chicken isn't so safe. The risk isn't salmonella but campylobacter, which needs very little contamination to cause food poisoning. So yes, contact with raw chicken makes a big difference. Even if both meat and eggs had a risk of salmonella, the extra risk from campylobacter is still a problem
    – Chris H
    Mar 14 at 13:11
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    I ended up throwing out the scrambled eggs just to be on the safe side. Thank you to all who posted advice on what to do!
    – yuritsuki
    Mar 15 at 7:13

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