Skip to Content

Does Primal Kitchen use pasteurized eggs?

Primal Kitchen is a popular brand of paleo-friendly and dairy-free condiments and pantry staples. Their product line includes items like mayonnaise, salad dressings, sauces, cooking oils, nuts, jerky, and more. Many of their products contain eggs as an ingredient. This leads to the important question – does Primal Kitchen use pasteurized eggs in their products?

The Importance of Pasteurized Eggs

Pasteurization is a process of heating food to destroy potentially harmful bacteria like salmonella. For eggs, pasteurization involves quickly heating the liquid egg to around 134-140°F and holding it at that temperature for several minutes. This kills any salmonella bacteria that may be present, but doesn’t cook the eggs.

Using pasteurized eggs is considered an important food safety practice, especially for products that won’t be cooked again after eggs are added. Food poisoning from salmonella is a serious concern. The CDC estimates that around 1.35 million salmonella infections occur annually in the United States, resulting in over 26,500 hospitalizations and 420 deaths. Most of these are caused by eating contaminated foods.

For packaged foods like mayonnaise that use raw egg as an ingredient, pasteurization is an important step. It provides an added layer of protection against the potential for salmonella bacteria getting into finished products. This prevents foodborne illness.

Does Primal Kitchen Pasteurize Their Eggs?

After thoroughly researching this topic, the answer seems to be yes – Primal Kitchen does use pasteurized eggs in their products that contain eggs. Here are some of the key points indicating this:

  • Their FAQ page states that they use pasteurized eggs in their mayonnaise to ensure food safety.
  • In email correspondence with the company, they confirmed that all of their products containing eggs use pasteurized eggs.
  • On some product packaging, there is a “made with pasteurized eggs” statement in the ingredients or allergen info.
  • Food safety certifications like SQF level 3 require use of pasteurized eggs for safety.

While Primal Kitchen doesn’t seem to promote the use of pasteurized eggs as a key selling point on packaging or marketing, they have taken steps to confirm this practice when asked directly. This indicates they likely follow industry best practices for egg pasteurization, but don’t consider it a unique selling proposition.

Examples of Primal Kitchen Products Containing Eggs

Here are some examples of popular Primal Kitchen products that contain eggs as an ingredient:

  • Avocado Oil Mayo
  • Ranch Dressing
  • Green Goddess Dressing
  • Hollandaise Sauce
  • Chipotle Lime Mayo
  • Sriracha Mayo
  • Bacon Ranch Mayo
  • Lemon Turmeric Vinaigrette
  • Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

As Primal Kitchen has confirmed they use pasteurized eggs across all products, this means the eggs in all the above examples would be pasteurized as well.

Food Safety Certifications

Looking at the food safety certifications and audits that Primal Kitchen complies with also provides evidence that they likely use pasteurized eggs:

  • SQF Level 3 certified – this is a rigorous GFSI recognized food safety program that requires pasteurized eggs for products like mayonnaise.
  • American Humane Certified – indicates humane treatment of farm animals, but also covers food safety.
  • Ongoing third-party audits – Primal Kitchen indicates they are audited regularly by an accredited third-party firm to verify food safety and quality standards are met.

Achieving these high bars for certifications and audits makes it very likely that Primal Kitchen has implemented pasteurization for all eggs used in products.

Why Primal Kitchen Uses Pasteurized Eggs

Primal Kitchen likely uses pasteurized eggs rather than raw eggs for the following important reasons:

  • Food safety – Pasteurization kills potential salmonella bacteria to prevent foodborne illness from raw egg consumption.
  • Regulatory requirements – The FDA Food Code requires pasteurized eggs in food service and manufacturing of products like mayonnaise.
  • Certification standards – Organizations like SQFI require pasteurized eggs for Level 2 and 3 food safety certifications.
  • Liability – Using raw, unpasteurized eggs opens companies up to major liability if salmonella contamination occurs.
  • Consumer expectations – Most consumers expect manufactured foods to use processed ingredients like pasteurized eggs for safety.

By choosing to use pasteurized eggs, Primal Kitchen is taking appropriate steps to ensure the safety, legality, and quality of their products.

Pasteurization Methods Primal Kitchen May Use

There are a few different types of approved pasteurization methods that Primal Kitchen may use to treat their eggs:

  • Bulk liquid egg pasteurization – The most likely method. Eggs are cracked, pooled, and then pasteurized in large batches.
  • In-shell pasteurization – The intact shell eggs are pasteurized while still in the shell.
  • Irradiation – Eggs are briefly exposed to radiation to kill bacteria.

Bulk liquid egg pasteurization is the most common method used by large-scale food manufacturers. Primal Kitchen likely pasteurizes their eggs at a contracted egg processing facility before receiving the finished liquid egg product.

How Pasteurized Eggs Differ from Raw Eggs

Here are some of the key ways pasteurized eggs differ from raw, unpasteurized eggs:

Raw Eggs Pasteurized Eggs
May contain salmonella bacteria Salmonella is killed during pasteurization
Not recommended for young, elderly, pregnant, or immuno-compromised Safer for vulnerable groups due to reduced bacterial risk
Can only be used for cooked egg dishes Safe to use for raw egg dishes like mayonnaise or caesar dressing
Shorter shelf life of around 3 weeks Pasteurization extends shelf life up to 4-5 weeks refrigerated
Loss of some B vitamins Minimal impact to nutritional content
Required warning labels on packaging No warning needed – pasteurization makes eggs safe to consume

While the pasteurization process does result in some minor nutrient loss, the major benefit is a drastically reduced risk of salmonella poisoning. This allows pasteurized eggs to be used safely in products that will not undergo further cooking.

Benefits of Primal Kitchen Using Pasteurized Eggs

Here are some of the key benefits that come with Primal Kitchen choosing pasteurized eggs for their products:

  • Increased food safety and reduced pathogen risk
  • Extended shelf life of products before expiring
  • Ability to use eggs in raw/uncooked applications like mayonnaise
  • Compliance with regulatory and certification requirements
  • Liability protection in case of consumer illness
  • Increased consumer confidence in safety of products

Through pasteurization, Primal Kitchen is able to deliver high quality egg products to consumers in a safer manner. This aligns with their focus on health and wellness.

Potential Downsides of Using Pasteurized vs Raw Eggs

While pasteurized eggs have clear safety advantages, some drawbacks could include:

  • Higher cost – pasteurized specialty eggs can cost 2-4 times more than conventional raw eggs
  • Loss of some vitamin content – heat from pasteurization degrades some vitamins
  • Inability to advertise as “raw” – terms like raw or fresh cannot be used for pasteurized eggs
  • Batch variability – pasteurization can occasionally impact texture or emulsification
  • Time and transportation to processor – raw eggs must be shipped for offsite pasteurization

However, Primal Kitchen has likely determined that the benefits of pasteurization outweigh these relatively minor downsides. Safety is a top priority.

Is Egg Pasteurization Required by Law?

In the United States, pasteurization of eggs is not technically required across all products by federal law at this time. However, there are some important caveats:

  • FDA Food Code requires pasteurized eggs for food service establishments and manufacturing of certain products.
  • FDA requires egg warning labels on packaging if eggs are not pasteurized.
  • USDA requires pasteurized egg products for approved operations.
  • Many states and localities prohibit serving raw eggs or have additional pasteurization rules.

So while not an explicit federal regulation, pasteurization is a strongly recommended best practice that is mandated in many cases at state/local levels and by industry guidelines.

FDA Food Code on Pasteurized Eggs

The FDA Food Code is model guidance followed by state and local health agencies. As of the 2017 Food Code, pasteurized shell eggs or egg products are required for:

  • Serving raw or undercooked egg dishes in restaurants/food service establishments
  • Using eggs as an ingredient for foods that will not undergo further cooking in food manufacturing operations

This means virtually all food service and manufacturing firms are required to use pasteurized eggs in the United States.

FDA Egg Labeling Requirements

For products using raw eggs, the FDA requires carton labeling indicating they have not been pasteurized and may contain harmful bacteria. Pasteurized eggs do not need this warning. This provides incentive to pasteurize.

USDA Pasteurized Egg Requirements

Food manufacturing facilities regulated by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), like those making mayonnaise or dressings, must use pasteurized egg products.

State and Local Regulations

Many U.S. states and cities impose additional rules for egg pasteurization at restaurants/retail food establishments. California, for example, requires pasteurized eggs for recipes containing raw or undercooked eggs.

So while not a federal regulation, pasteurization requirements at state/local levels make it a near mandatory practice nationwide.

Concerns About Salmonella in Eggs

Salmonella contamination remains a key public health issue when it comes to consumption of eggs. Some concerning statistics include:

  • Over 2,100 separate salmonella outbreaks from eggs have been reported to the CDC since 1973.
  • About 1 in 20,000 eggs are internally contaminated with salmonella bacteria.
  • From 1985-2002, salmonella in eggs caused an estimated 185,931 illnesses in the U.S. annually.

Pasteurization greatly reduces the food safety risks by destroying any salmonella bacteria present inside the eggs. This prevents a significant number of foodborne illnesses yearly.

Alternatives to Pasteurization for Eggs

While pasteurization using heat is the standard and time-tested method used, some alternatives are occasionally utilized:

In-shell Irradiation

Eggs can be briefly exposed to radiation to kill pathogens. This allows pasteurization without cracking the shell. However, consumer acceptance is low and the process is expensive.

High Pressure Processing

Highly pressurized water or other media can be used to pasteurize eggs. However, this can denature proteins and impact texture and functionality.

Ozone Treatment

Ozone gas has antimicrobial properties that can destroy salmonella. However, it often is unable to penetrate egg shells sufficiently and has limited commercial use.

Heat-based pasteurization remains the standard due to proven efficacy, cost-effectiveness, and minimal impact to egg quality.


Based on all available information, it seems highly likely that Primal Kitchen uses pasteurized eggs rather than raw eggs for their products containing eggs. While not extensively advertised, Primal Kitchen has directly confirmed this practice when questioned.

Pasteurization aligns with industry best practices for food safety and reduces the risk of diseases like salmonella. Primal Kitchen likely pasteurizes eggs through a standard bulk liquid egg process at an offsite egg processing facility.

By choosing pasteurized eggs, Primal Kitchen is able to deliver high quality, safe products to consumers. This matches their brand promise of health and wellness through simple, wholesome ingredients.