In a major change to its previous advice, The Food Standards Agency has stated that eggs carrying the British Lion mark can now safely be eaten runny, or even raw, by vulnerable groups, such as older people.
The new runny egg advice is great news for care caterers and residents as the familiarity of eggs, particularly as part of breakfast and snack meals, can be really helpful when providing meals for people with dementia who may be more able to recognise dishes which have associations with their past.
Eggs, either on their own or as part of another dish, can also be useful as finger foods for residents who struggle to use cutlery or who find it difficult to sit down for long enough to eat a meal.
Ideas for finger foods featuring eggs include hard boiled eggs, Spanish omelette cut into cubes, mini omelette wraps, and egg mayonnaise on crackers or bread.
Traditional ways of serving eggs, such as boiled eggs and soldiers, can be good choices, especially at breakfast or as a snack meal.
Of course some people with dementia are very happy to try new foods and people’s dietary preferences can change, so try less familiar dishes like smoked salmon frittata cut into small pieces too.
Brightly coloured dishes or those which contrast with the plate they are served on can also be more obvious for people with dementia, so can encourage appetite.
The new runny eggs advice means there has never been a better time to put them back on the menu, and the move is supported by the findings of two new papers published on the potential benefits of eggs for older people.
The new papers have investigated how eggs could offer an opportunity to increase protein intake and help prevent muscle decline in older people, based on research by a team at Bournemouth University, part-funded by the British Egg Industry Council.
Protein is needed for the growth and repair of body cells and tissues; as people age, loss in muscle mass and strength (sarcopenia) can increase protein requirements. An adequate intake of high quality protein from sources such as eggs could help to prevent the degeneration of skeletal muscle.
The researchers noted that as a nutrient-dense, high quality source of protein of soft texture and easy to cook, eggs are an ideal food for older people.