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I think I have read all of the royal icing topics pertaining to egg white safety, but I still have a question. If this topic has already been asked and answered, please let me know.

I understand that using pasteurized egg whites (or meringue powder) reduces, or eliminates altogether, the possibility of salmonella, and that a high sugar content in any confection will retard the birth/spread of bacteria, but as I am not cooking the icing at all, the pasteurized egg whites are still considered raw, correct?

My main concern is leaving the icing-flooded cookies out to dry on a counter as opposed to putting them in a fridge (which I know you're not supposed to do) to dry. Since the egg whites are raw/uncooked, nothing has really changed since pouring them out of the carton. Apart from a texture difference in the icing (whipped by a mixer) the icing still needs to be refrigerated to prevent spoiling, right?

I keep reading information that says iced cookies can be left in an airtight container on the counter, but no one would ever pour out pasteurized egg whites into a bowl and just leave them on a counter for a few days before they are eaten.

I'm sure I'm overthinking this, but it's the one question I have with making royal icing. 




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No, the pasteurized whites aren't raw per se; they are heat-treated whites, and they are heat-treated to help kill off harmful bacteria. Of course, if you leave any moist object out on the counter for a period, it can grow mold. Or if you cross-contaminate it with something else not in the egg whites, you might get into trouble. But, if you do neither of those things, you are simply setting the icing out to dry, which it does quite quickly. As the icing dries, the conditions under which bacteria can grow are greatly diminished, especially if there was little to no bacteria in the eggs to begin with (and you didn't cross-contaminate).

@Pam Block posted:

What if regular egg whites were used? They don't say pasteurized.

Thank you

My comment above holds. There is always some risk of salmonella with raw eggs, and that bacteria will  grow more quickly in foods left at room temperature. But if the eggs are not infected with THAT bacteria to start, then THAT bacteria won’t spontaneously arise in it. The icing will set very fast and minimize the risk of other bacterial growth. Always some risk, but the fact is the icing won’t dry or dry properly on cookies if they are refrigerated after icing them.

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