What are egg products?

Small and Backyard Flocks, Food Safety September 27, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

The term "egg products" refers to eggs that are removed from their shells for processing (i.e., dried, frozen, refrigerated liquid egg products, etc.). All of these products are pasteurized. Examples of egg products include:

  • frozen chopped hard-cooked, peeled eggs;
  • frozen quiche mixes;
  • refrigerated liquid or frozen egg substitutes; and
  • frozen, precooked products.

Egg substitutes have no yolks to remove the fat and cholesterol. To replace the yolk, other ingredients such as nonfat dried milk, vegetable oils, emulsifiers, stabilizers, antioxidants, gums, artificial color, vitamins, and minerals are added. These products can be used in most places where whole eggs are required. Frozen, precooked products include egg patties, crepes, scrambled eggs, egg pizza, French toast, and egg breakfast sandwiches.

For more information on egg products, see the American Egg Board egg products buyers' guide. Eggs are an excellent source of complete protein. They do not contain vitamin C but provide various other nutrients such as vitamin A, calcium, and potassium. Eggs are also very versatile. They provide not only beneficial nutrients but also a variety of functions when combined with other foods. Eggs have some nutraceutical and functional food benefits as well.

For example:

  • Lysozyme from egg whites is used in eye drops and some cold remedies.
  • Egg yolks contain lutein which can help prevent macular degeneration in the eye.
  • Egg yolks are also used in hair and skin care products.
  • Egg yolks are a significant source of lecithin. This component is used in many food products to help prevent separation. Examples include mayonnaise and salad dressings. Egg lecithin is very desirable in many food processing applications.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.