A wider variety of egg dishes will be added to menus at Helping Hand Aged Care’s residential homes throughout the state, as the organisation becomes the first of its kind in South Australia to use an innovative new version of the popular breakfast staple.
Until recently, the organisation could only serve hard boiled eggs because of the salmonella risk associated with eggs that are raw or partially cooked. But by using Australia’s first pasteurised eggs in a shell, produced by Queensland-based company Australian Pasteurised Eggs, they can now serve eggs which are soft-boiled, sunny-side up, poached, scrambled and fried.
The Australian Pasteurised Eggs team use a heat-based technology at their high-tech processing plant in Toowoomba to reduce 99.999 per cent of the bacteria contained in the centre of the yolk. Once pasteurised, the eggshell is also dressed with a food grade wax, similar to that adopted in other fresh produce, for extra protection.
Helping Hand Hotel Services Support Manager Martin Collumb described the use of these new eggs as a ‘game changer’ for both the aged care industry and the broader hospitality sector.
“For a lot of our residents, there’s a real sense of nostalgia associated with the way they eat their eggs. For example, it might be that they always loved cracking a soft egg over their bacon and toast in the morning, or dipping bread ‘soldiers’ into their egg,” Mr Collumb said.
“But until now it hasn’t been possible for us to serve anything other than eggs that are boiled to the ‘rock hard’ point because of it was the only way to reduce the bacteria risk and meet strict food safety standards.
“In-shell pasteurised eggs mean we can now serve eggs in so many more ways while at the same time ensuring that they are free of harmful bacteria. And this is not only at breakfast time, where they’re obviously popular, but also in dishes such as Caesar salads, omelettes and quiches.
“It’s something so many of us take for granted, but what it means for us is that we’re able to bring back the joy and nostalgia that something seemingly simple, such as having your eggs cooked in your preferred way or made-to-order, can bring. The early feedback from our residents has been really positive.”
Helping Hand General Manager Metropolitan Division Angela Littleford said the organisation is committed to serving a diverse range of meals which are healthy, flavoursome and culturally-diverse and caters to the varied health needs of residents which can range from dementia to diabetes. Other recent food innovations introduced by Helping Hand include residents participating in regular ‘Chef’s Table’ shared meals where residents share a meal with their local Chef and provide critique and suggest new menu items.
“Enjoying a delicious cooked breakfast or brunch is something we value as Australians. We love our smashed avocado and poached eggs and there can be negativity around food served in aged care settings, but we’re working really hard to create the best meals we can by hiring talented chefs and kitchen staff who really care about the wellbeing of our residents and use a diverse range of ingredients,” said Ms Littleford.
“Food is such an important part of our society that can reflect our culture, provoke memory and is the basis of lively discussion. We want all our residents to be able to enjoy a diverse, safe and wide range of foods and beverages.”
Chefs based at Helping Hand’s residential care homes, including those in Clare, Jamestown, Port Pirie, Parafield Gardens, Lightsview, Mawson Lakes, Ingle Farm and North Adelaide will continue to add new egg-based meals to their menu over coming weeks.
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