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Mayonnaise Spoilage Myths - Mayonnaise Safety

Debunking the mayonnaise spoilage myth

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Tuna salad sandwich with mayonnaise
Brian MacDonald/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Mayonnaise Spoilage Myths

Commercial mayonnaise has an undeserved bad reputation as a cause of food spoilage. In fact, commercial mayonnaise is loaded with acid and preservatives that can actually extend the life of salads by killing bacteria. The eggs used in prepared mayonnaise are pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria.

Truth be told, it is usually cross-contamination of uncooked foods that causes foodborne illness, not the prepared mayo. It is perfectly safe to carry a tuna salad sandwich for lunch with no refrigeration, but it is still always a good idea to refrigerate salads and cold dishes using mayonnaise.

On the other hand, homemade mayonnaise carries more risk if not handled properly. Foods using homemade mayo should be eaten immediately or properly refrigerated. The best bet is to make up only the amount of mayonnaise that you need, and do not plan on leftovers.

It is so easy and fast to make that you should not need the convenience of a prepared mayo except for that last minute sandwich. Homemade mayonnaise will last up to a week when properly refrigerated.

Traditional homemade mayonnaise contains raw egg yolks. The perfect solution is to purchase irradiated eggs which are now available in most markets. Irradiated eggs carry no risk of salmonella contamination and are perfectly safe to use in raw preparations.

However, if you are unable to find irradiated eggs but don't want to take the risk of using raw eggs, my recipe collection includes a couple of cooked mayonnaise recipes. Cooked recipes warm the egg yolks just to the point where any bacteria will be killed but not enough to actually cook the yolks.

More about Mayonnaise and Mayonnaise Recipes:

Mayonnaise Tips and Hints
Mayonnaise Spoilage Myths
What is Mayonnaise?
Mayonnaise Recipes
Mayonnaise Photo © 2007 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.

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