A Runny Yolk


This will be brief! 

First let me say, I appreciate any and all feedback that I get here on the blog, on my Facebook page, on my Instagram page, and anywhere else. I read them all, take them to heart, reflect on them, and try to find a solution to the issue.

This morning I shared a picture of an egg on my son’s tray (he’s almost 23 months), it looked like it might have a runny yolk; it was cooked through but it looked like it might be runny.

There was a disagreement in the comments: some said that runny yolk is not safe for babies or toddlers. Others said it was perfectly fine. My stance at the time: it’s perfectly fine as long as the white part is cooked.

Well…. as we all know, there are two sides to every story. There is information supporting both sides, depending on where you look. So for the sake of being thorough, I want to present the information I found and let you decide for yourself what is best for your family! 

1. Salmonella is a bad guy. When an egg is laid, there are sometimes little specks of feces still on the egg. Sometimes an infected chicken seems totally healthy, but the nasty bacteria can still get on its eggs. In the US, there are very strict laws regarding how those eggs are cleaned. BUT tiny pieces of the bacteria can still linger on the egg. 

2. The chances that you buy an egg that’s harboring a little salmonella is about 1 in 30,000. I mean, 1/30,000 eggs can be bad. For the sake of clarity, if I eat 3 eggs a day, then over the course of 27 years, I would have come across just 1 bad egg (statistically speaking). 

3. What if I get salmonella poisoning? Some symptoms are diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. As an adult, I can be treated for that (though there are some deaths each year, as with any sickness). A baby or toddler, though, if faced with those symptoms, is susceptible to dehydration, which is serious. My point? You don’t want your baby or toddler to get salmonella poisoning!

(I’m not trying to sound dramatic, by the way!)

4. Now, the issue of the runny yolk. Both the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) and FDA (Food and Drug Administration) say that all eggs should be cooked entirely, both the white and the yolk, to prevent the risk of salmonella. That said, there are some cases where the yolk is meant to be runny (like mayonnaise). In those cases, you can buy eggs that have been pasteurized (they’re a little more expensive). Pasteurization just means that the product has been sterilized without being cooked (there are ways you can do it at home!).

5. Some folks are not convinced that it’s that big of a risk. The British Egg Information Service says that pregnant women, infants, and the elderly can eat eggs with runny yolks.

6. Lion Quality: Some birds have been vaccinated against Salmonella enteritidis. The eggs marked with the Lion Quality stamp (Google that!) are supposed to be safe. In fact, out of 150,000 eggs that were checked, none of them were infected with salmonella.

My verdict? 

I don’t want to dictate what anyone does. There are risks to nearly everything (driving without a seatbelt, handling meat, or just walking across a street). But when it comes to our babies, we do what we feel is best, given the information available to us. 

For me personally? I don’t aim to cook runny yolks because it wastes some of the egg! I like a softer yolk for my soft-boiled eggs just because hard yolks are too dry for me. But they are not runny, so I don’t think they are unsafe. For Alexander? I avoid runny yolks because it’s more messy. 

Use your best judgment, mamas. That’s the best we can do!

As a friend of mine told me a long long time ago, “Research research research. Then go with your gut.”

Did I leave anything out? If there’s a source you’d like me to check out and include, I’d be happy to. I tried to be thorough and honest and unbiased. If your country has different safety standards, the statistics may be different. Again, feel free to share that information with me so I can include it.