More Crankiness About Government and Drinking

Via Bret Thorn of Nation’s Restaurant News, we have the latest sand in the gears of an enjoyable life, courtesy of our various fine governments.
The Man dropped in on the Pegu Club in New York City for a routine health inspection, and noticed the fact that they use raw eggs in certain cocktails. Apparently, raw eggs are illegal in New York, even if you warn your customers about their use.

Scary eyeball in an egg with lightning
Oooooh, scary!
(Original egg image stolen from here)

Guys, you have to use raw egg whites in certain cocktails… both old and new. Very few eggs in America actually have salmonella contamination. (Odds are, you’ll encounter one about once every 84 years.) Fewer of those eggs will actually result in a dose enough to get anyone sick, especially when said egg whites are mixed into a glass of disinfectant!
Now, I do understand that a tiny risk still exists, but I guarantee you are in a lot more mortal danger from the taxis and random New Yorkers you must pass simply to get to Pegu Club than you are from any number of Earl Grey MarTEAnis consumed once there. (Of course, if you are pregnant, the risks from raw eggs are much higher. But, um, if you are pregnant, there are a lot more dangerous ingredients in a Pisco Sour than that dollop of egg white!)
And why are raw eggs, even with a warning, a violation, while raw seafood is not?
Now, I am hoping that this is less of a pain in the butt than it first appears. Audrey Saunders’ FaceBook Page states, …we have to switch to pasteurized eggs in our cocktails. If that is all they have to do, that is in fact no great shakes. I use pasteurized eggs whenever I use egg whites in drinks. They only cost a few cents more, eliminate a microscopic risk, and are otherwise indistinguishable from regular eggs. But the other part of the story claims that raw eggs are not allowed. Does this mean raw, pasteurized eggs too? I’m pretty sure cooked egg whites in a Ramos Gin Fizz would produce rather sub-par results….
Anyone have some clarification on this? Are there any municipalities that do not allow raw eggs of any kind to be served? Is Nanny Bloomberg’s demesne one such?

About the author


I am 48 years old, married with two young daughters. My interests are tennis, reading, computers, politics, and of course cocktails. I run a murder mystery party business that caters to both corporate and private events, Killing Time, murder consultants.


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  • They can use pasteurized egg whites. My understanding is that non-pasteurized are the problem.

    Still, pasteurized eggs aren’t that big of a deal, but they do not whip up as nicely as do non-pasteurized, and the fact that there’s a warning AND that these eggs are being mixing in glasses full of alcohol makes this all a really idiotic issue in the first place.

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  • They don’t froth as well? I’ve been using them so long, I guess I did not notice. Next time I give a Ramos a whirl I risk the 84 year curse and see if regular eggs give me a better result!

    And yes, that was my point about putting them in glasses of friggin’ disinfectant!

    Wrassle, frassle, gubmint busybodies….

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  • Those “low risk” stats are old and a product of the egg industry. The CDC estimates that every year 1 out of every 50 people will be exposed to salmonella from eggs. (One in every 4,000 eggs is contaminated — not one in 20,000 as the egg industry would lead you to believe.)

    Pasteurization is the only way to ensure that eggs do not carry harmful pathogens.

    Eggs can be pasteurized in the shell. Two companies do this, though the quality of one is in my opinion much higher than the other’s. The eggs are not cooked, and still look ‘raw’. Technically and legally, once the egg is pasteurized, it is no longer raw. But these eggs do perform as raw eggs. They fall under FDA jurisdiction as opposed to USDA as raw eggs do.

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  • Don’t want to name names, but not that very long ago an upscale Beverly Hills restaurant sickened a lot of people with raw egg in a dessert. The resulting litigation cost that establishment a good chunk of money.

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  • This is why I use farm eggs at home. You are less likely to get a bad egg from well raised chickens that are not part of the factory farm system. A farmer’s market is a great source.

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