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The only one in the world? Japan eats raw eggs. Why are raw eggs safe in Japan? Egg rice is a soul food in Japan.

2023-09-30  Category:Japanese culture

The only one in the world? Japan eats raw eggs. Why are raw eggs safe in Japan? Egg rice is a soul food in Japan.

Photo by 円周率3パーセント (licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0)

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Japan, a country that eats raw eggs

Japan seems to be the only country in the world that eats raw eggs. Japan is known as a country where tap water is drinkable, but you might think it's a similar story, but it's not. In Japan, tap water is drinkable because it is soft and sanitary water is thoroughly controlled, and eggs are only born from chickens, so there is no difference in countries around the world.

Why do only Japan eat raw eggs?

Even if you explain it as a food culture, eggs are probably eaten all over the world, so why did Japan come to eat eggs raw? You might think it's a matter of Japanese tastes, but foreigners say that sukiyaki is delicious, and even simple rice with egg is delicious. Could it be that only Japanese people noticed the taste of raw eggs?

dangerous salmonella

If you ask foreigners, they will tell you that raw eggs are dangerous. Then, I wondered why Japanese eggs were so safe, and when I looked into it, I found out that Salmonella bacteria is contained in the parent hens' feces and urine and seems to penetrate through the egg shells. Alternatively, if the parent chicken is infected with Salmonella, eggs infected with Salmonella will be born. Current Japanese poultry farms take thorough measures to prevent Salmonella, which is why they can even be eaten as raw eggs.

Raw eggs have been described since the Edo period

Then, when did Japan start eating raw eggs? When I researched it, I found that before the Edo period, food derived from animals was avoided due to the influence of Buddhism, and there seems to be a mention of raw eggs in the Edo period. Later, there was a mention of tamago kakigohan (egg-dried rice) in the Meiji period, and it is said that Ogai Mori also liked eating it.

Salmonella was discovered in the late 19th century.

When I researched Salmonella, I discovered that it was named after Daniel Salmon, a bacteriologist who discovered the type strain of the Salmonella genus, Hog cholera, in the United States in 1885. It became. In the Edo period, there would have been no recognition of Salmonella.

Japan knew how to manage parent birds and eggs

In summary, Japanese people did not have any biological knowledge about Salmonella, but they did know that if parent chickens were kept in an unsanitary environment, the baby eggs would have fatal problems if eaten by humans. On the other hand, they knew that if they thoroughly managed and cleaned the chickens, this problem would not occur.