WASHINGTON – US Department of Agriculture research has led to a faster way to pasteurize raw, in-shell eggs without comprising flavor, texture, color or other qualities.

Raw eggs are positioned between two electrodes that emit radio waves back and forth through the eggs. The eggs are rotated slowly and sprayed with water to offset some of the heat created by the radio waves, according to USDA. David Geveke, a USDA chemical engineer, and his colleagues have demonstrated that heating eggs using radio waves killed 99.999 percent of the Salmonella injected into shell eggs used in laboratory tests.

The process, which targets Salmonella, would provide an alternative to a hot-water immersion process that can last at least one hour. Radio frequency heating warms the egg from the inside out, which allows the yolk to receive more heat than the heat-sensitive egg white, USDA noted.

The process takes approximately 20 minutes, making it roughly three times faster than the hot-water-immersion technique.