Quite a lot, actually, now that Steve Rooney has joined Australian Pasteurised Eggs.
Steve sings the praises of the benefits of pasteurised eggs in aged care – and I found out why at a recent fireside chat with Steve.
Jo: are you a cyclist or an egg man?
Steve: Haha – both! Eggs were very important to me during my competitive cycling life, and helped me be 3 x Australian Cycling Champion, in the Olympic squad, compete at Commonwealth Games and World Champs and win 7 races in France. I used raw eggs in my recovery shakes after my long rides up to 200kms.
Jo: How did you find Australian Pasteurised Eggs?
Steve: They found me! Funnily enough, not so long ago my daughter said Dad you need to be careful of having raw eggs, as we are studying that raw or under-cooked eggs have the possibility of Salmonella. Hmmm. Then not joking this opportunity to work with Australian Pasteurised Eggs was presented to me about a month later, and as they say, the rest is history. At the same time, my father was hospitalised and was not able to enjoy his favourite breakfast of Sunny side up eggs and bacon. The impact of him being denied this simple pleasure haunted me. He told me to take the opportunity.
Jo: What has been the reaction from aged care providers?
Steve: We are slowly getting the word out, so many still do not know yet that there is a non-hazardous solution that allows their clients to have eggs anyway they want, without the risk of salmonella from the eggs. Of course, staff must still use good food safety procedures. I have experienced 4 issues for providers we are helping them overcome.
Jo: What are these, Steve?
Steve: Let me explain.
- Risk awareness – some management and staff do not fully understand the impact of food borne illness associated with use of raw/low-cooked eggs to their residents, staff and facility. A salmonella incident could cause death or serious illness, and authorities could then force the kitchen to close until they are satisfied that the risk has been addressed and eliminated. We have seen recent cases of this in Australia – with devastating consequences for all concerned. Pasteurised shell eggs ensures the eggs are safe and salmonella-free when they come into the facility. Subject to good food handling procedures, they should stay salmonella free from supply to consumption.
- Procurement – at last the pasteurised eggs are now available through the major national distribution partners. Now all aged care providers can ask their food supplier for pasteurised eggs with the green “P” stamped on each egg. The great news is, the pasteurisation process doubles the shelf life. We are working on getting pasteurised eggs into retail shops, so anyone can buy them any time.
- Operational implementation – using safe pasteurised eggs in aged care requires new thinking. No longer are the pasteurised eggs deemed hazardous, so they are not subject to temperature control, temperature recording or minimum cooking time and/or temperature. This means the benefit of soft eggs to residents is now a reality – as long as they are soft at the time the residents want to eat them!
- Cost – yes, pasteurised eggs are priced at a premium to mainstream eggs, as they have undergone additional processing that requires high-precision specialised equipment to ensure safety that do not impact on the integrity of the egg. The benefit is safety is assured by eliminating 99.999% of bacteria. Of course, resident satisfaction sky rockets – a massive boost to staff and management.
Steve: Jo, may I ask what pasteurised eggs would mean to residents, families and staff you see in aged care facilities?
Jo: Massive benefit! During onsite projects, I spend up to a week immersing with residents and staff in the meal time experience. For residents, I see the daily disappointment when their beloved dreamt-about soft egg arrives hard, grey and unpalatable. For staff, I see the time and effort they take to follow food safety procedures to keep the egg “safe” and know in their heart the residents wont like it by the time they are served. Heart breaking all round. Staff I have spoken to are so excited that they can safely get passionate about eggs!