Wondering are Japanese eggs safe to eat raw. Read on to find out!
Japan is renowned for its culinary heritage, featuring a variety of traditional dishes that incorporate raw eggs.
From the classic Tamago Kake Gohan (rice with raw egg) to the silky-smooth texture of raw egg used in soups and sauces, raw eggs play a prominent role in Japanese cuisine.
Despite concerns about consuming raw eggs due to the risk of salmonella contamination in other countries, Japan has managed to maintain a remarkably safe track record.
In this article, we explore the reasons why Japanese eggs are considered safe to eat raw.
Why Can You Eat Raw Eggs in Japan?
We Japanese eat raw eggs on a daily basis. We put raw eggs on hot rice, then add some Japanese soy sauce, and finally mix it together.
But don’t think that our stomachs evolve to fight against salmonella bacteria!
Anyway, just kidding.
Actually, the Japanese eggs are salmonella-free!
Japan is the country to ensure that its consumers will not catch salmonella from eating raw eggs.
Lots of effort is put into keeping the chickens and eggs pure.
The Japanese have adopted a high-tech way of neutralizing salmonella before it gets to the consumer.
The farmers and workers always maintain strict procedures in producing, washing, and selecting eggs.
But how strict? Aren’t you curious to know that?
Benefits Of Eating Raw Eggs in Japan
Important nutrients like Protein, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B, DHA, omega 3 fatty acids, lutein, and solid iron can all be found in eggs. Cooking egg yolks reduces the amount of vitamins A, D, and B present in the egg by 20–30%.
This is why raw egg yolks are more nutrient-dense than cooked ones. This is one of the reasons why raw egg consumption is popular among Japanese people.
Japan’s Super Egg Machine Ensures That Japanese Eggs Are Safe To Eat (Even Raw)
The super egg machine is a highly automated system that cleans, inspects, and packages eggs. It is used by many egg producers in Japan, and it is considered to be one of the most advanced egg processing systems in the world.
The machine starts by washing the eggs with a mixture of water and ozonated water. This helps to remove any dirt or bacteria on the surface of the eggs.
The eggs are then inspected for cracks and other defects. If an egg is cracked, it is automatically rejected.
After the eggs have been inspected, they are sorted by size. The machine uses a combination of sensors and air jets to sort the eggs into six different size categories.
Once the eggs have been sorted, they are packaged in cartons. The machine can package eggs at a rate of up to 33 eggs per second.
The super egg machine is a critical part of the Japanese egg industry. It helps to ensure that eggs are safe to eat and that they are packaged in a way that prevents them from breaking.
How Are Eggs Pasteurized & Packaged in Japan?
Egg farms in every prefecture in Japan follow a generational method to produce eggs.
To ensure the quality and safety of each farm and to keep the chickens free of contamination, a lot of rules and regulations are maintained.
All eggs are from the same farm as their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. The reason behind this practice and precaution is that if an egg is contaminated, it can be traced back to the exact farm.
And the farms in each prefecture are constructed close to each other and near major roadways to control any disease easily in case of emergency.
Besides, a Japanese chicken farm is more modernized, and it is always strict on who can enter.
And when entering the chicken coop, every worker and farmer needs to change their dress and put on a particular uniform.
On top of that, additional precautions are taken to keep insects, wild birds, and animals out of the farm.
Highly nutritious food is given to the livestock chickens from the time they are chicks, which helps them produce better eggs enriched with vitamins.
After the hatching of the eggs, they are collected and off to be tested. Each egg is washed, sterilized, and checked individually for defects like blood, dirt, or cracks with a sophisticated machine.
Equalizing the egg’s position so that the yolk does not touch the shell, checking that there are no cracks or blood in the egg, and cleaning the eggshell from all types of dirt and bacteria— these are the work of this machine.
They go through this process multiple times for approval.
If any imperfections are found in any eggs, they dispose of them immediately.
Modern technology and machinery make it impossible for any egg to slip through. Not only does it check each egg physically, but it also scans them as well to check for any bacteria.
The eggs that do not satisfy the standard are not sold or sold with labeling that mentions they cannot be eaten raw.
In addition to all these strict processes, eggs in Japan are packaged, maintaining the standards of the Japan Poultry Association.
According to the standard, each egg producer should include an expiration date for flavor, not for consuming the egg.
This expiration date is the time limit for eating raw eggs, and you are advised to cook the egg when the expiration date passes.
So, what makes Japanese eggs different? Or what’s so special about Japanese eggs?
I guess now it is clear to you.
Now that you know the details about why Japanese raw eggs are safe, you might be curious about some of our delicious raw egg dishes.
Strict Quality Control and Hygiene Standards of Japanese Eggs
One of the primary reasons for the safety of Japanese eggs is the strict quality control and hygiene standards implemented in the country’s egg production industry.
Japanese farmers follow rigorous protocols to ensure the safety and quality of eggs.
The entire process, from egg production to distribution, is closely monitored and regulated by government agencies, ensuring compliance with stringent standards.
Vaccination Programs For Hens In Japan
Japan has implemented extensive vaccination programs for hens to prevent salmonella contamination.
Vaccinating hens significantly reduces the likelihood of eggs being infected with salmonella bacteria, a common concern associated with consuming raw eggs.
By prioritizing animal health, Japan’s egg industry minimizes the risk of salmonella transmission and subsequently provides safer eggs for consumers.
Japanese Egg Farm Management Practices
Japanese egg farms adhere to meticulous farm management practices to maintain cleanliness and reduce the risk of contamination.
Farms invest in advanced technologies and infrastructure to create hygienic environments for the hens.
These measures include temperature control, ventilation systems, and strict biosecurity protocols to prevent the entry of pathogens.
The emphasis on cleanliness and disease prevention contributes to the overall safety of eggs produced in Japan.
Traceability and Quality Assurance of Japanese Raw Eggs
Japan’s egg production industry places a strong emphasis on traceability and quality assurance.
Eggs are tracked from farm to consumer, enabling efficient identification and containment of any potential contamination issues.
This traceability system ensures that any concerns regarding specific batches of eggs can be addressed promptly, minimizing the impact on public health.
Consumer Education About Food Safety Practices
Japanese society is well-educated about food safety practices, including the risks and benefits of consuming raw eggs.
This awareness is fostered through public campaigns, educational initiatives, and media outlets.
By equipping consumers with knowledge about safe handling and consumption of raw eggs, the risk of foodborne illnesses is further reduced.
Freshness and Handling Of Eggs in Japan
Japanese eggs are typically extremely fresh due to the emphasis on quality control and efficient distribution systems.
Fresh eggs have a lower risk of contamination and spoilage, making them safer to consume raw.
Additionally, proper handling practices, such as refrigeration and careful washing, further contribute to the safety of Japanese eggs.
Popular Japanese Raw Egg Dishes
Some traditional Japanese dishes include raw eggs, which are really delicious and savory. These dishes are not only a treat to your tummy but also to your body due to their high nutrient contents.
Here are some raw egg dishes you may try while in Japan.
1. Tamago Kake Gohan or TKG
Firstly, I will talk about the most popular raw egg dish in Japan that we usually eat in the morning.
Another name of this dish is TKG, where a raw egg is placed on hot rice and then eaten after seasoning it with Japanese soy sauce, shoyu.
This platter is so simple, but it will be quite extreme for you if you don’t like eating raw eggs.
2. Kamatama Udon
Fresh raw eggs and soy sauce on top of freshly cooked udon noodles — This is kamatama udon for you.
The egg will be half-cooked by the heat of the noodles, which will give you an unspeakable rich flavor.
Sukiyaki is a traditional Japanese hotpot dish. Thinly sliced beef, leeks, shiitake mushrooms, and vegetables are simmered in a soy sauce based broth in a flat iron pan.
Then we dip the sukiyaki meat and veggies into a beaten egg before eating.
It lowers the temperature of the vegetables and meat so that your tongue or mouth doesn’t burn from the heat.
4. Roast Beef Bowl
This is a rice bowl dish, which is topped with roasted beef, fresh raw egg yolk, and delicious sauce with grated radish.
Yukke is fresh raw meat (usually beef or horse meat) sashimi dish. The meat is seasoned with Japanese soy sauce (shoyu) and then topped with raw egg, and finally presented with sliced fresh vegetables.
This dish is a bit extreme, combining two raw ingredients. It is only found in yakiniku restaurants that have the authorization to serve raw meat in Japan.
Well, I hope you like these dishes.
I have nothing more to let you know.
By this time, you have known why Japanese eggs are safe to eat raw. I even included some raw egg dishes so that you can try them when visiting Japan.
It might feel a little bit strange to you but trust me, each of the dishes is worth trying.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Are Japanese Eggs Pasteurized?
Eggs in Japan are pasteurized and go through a very strict process from the very beginning to ensure that it doesn’t get contaminated. In Japan, eggs are specially checked to make sure that they can be consumed raw.
Why do Japanese eggs not have salmonella?
Japan has developed a procedure that helps limit the possibility of any eggs contaminated with salmonella. There’s a machine that helps identify any contamination in the egg. It uses spectroscopic analysis to analyse the inside of the egg to make sure there are no bloodspots.
Additionally, the machine dries, bundles, and cleans the eggs without cracking their shells, making them fit for human consumption.
How common is salmonella in Japanese eggs?
It’s very rare that Japanese eggs are contaminated with salmonella. This is because there’s a stringent process of egg inspection in Japan.
Are Japanese eggs safer than American?
When you compare Japanese eggs vs American eggs , Japanese raw eggs are much safer to eat and wont cause any food poisoning.
Eggshell act like a natural barrier that protects the egg from bacteria and contamination. American eggs are washed to make them look more appealing, but when eggs are washed, the shell becomes porous, compromising the natural barrier.
On the other hand, Japan has adopted a high-tech way of neutralizing salmonella before it gets to the consumer. The farmers and workers always maintain strict procedures in producing, washing, and selecting eggs. In addition, Japanese poultry is also vaccinated as well, making Japanese eggs safer than American ones.
Why are Japanese egg yolks so orange?
There are two reasons. One is the hen’s diet. In Japan, the chickens are given a higher percentage of materials that are high in carotenoids or carotene.
And this can be anything from yellow flower petals to carrot powder or other industrially produced chemicals. In some cases, it can also result from free-range hens eating natural foods high in those chemicals.
The second reason is that they aren’t pumped full of steroids and other chemicals as in other countries. The Japanese government has a higher standard than other countries.
Why do eggs in Japan taste better?
Yes, eggs in Japan taste better but it is not applicable for all types of eggs in Japan. Some particular group of Japanese farms has developed eggs that taste and smell like the delicious citrus fruit, yuzu. It is done naturally by giving the chickens fodder that contains the peel of that citrus fruit.
What Does Japanese Raw Egg Taste Like?
Japanese raw eggs are said to have a rich, creamy flavor with a hint of sweetness. The yolk is especially flavorful, with a buttery, almost custard-like texture. The egg white is also mild and smooth, with no unpleasant aftertaste.
There are a few reasons why Japanese raw eggs taste different from raw eggs in other parts of the world.
First, Japanese chickens are fed a special diet that includes omega-3 fatty acids, which gives the eggs a richer flavor.
Second, Japanese eggs are not washed with soap, which can remove some of the nutrients and flavor.
Finally, Japanese eggs are subject to stricter safety regulations, which means that they are less likely to be contaminated with salmonella.
Why are Japanese eggs expensive?
Japanese eggs are expensive for a number of reasons. First, they are subject to very strict quality control standards. This means that only the best eggs make it to market, which drives up the price.
Second, Japanese people love eggs, and they consume them in large quantities. This high demand also contributes to the high price of eggs.
Third, the cost of feed for chickens has been rising in recent years, due to factors such as the war in Ukraine. This has also put upward pressure on the price of eggs. Fourth, bird flu outbreaks have also affected the Japanese egg market.
When there is an outbreak of bird flu, chickens are often culled to prevent the spread of the disease. This can lead to a shortage of eggs, which drives up the price.
In addition to these factors, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has also contributed to the rising price of eggs in Japan.
The pandemic has disrupted the global supply chain, making it more difficult and expensive to import eggs from other countries.
This has further increased the demand for domestically produced eggs, which has pushed up the price.
As a result of all of these factors, Japanese eggs are more expensive than eggs in many other countries.
However, Japanese consumers are willing to pay the higher price for eggs that they know are safe and of high quality.