In addition to the production of antibodies that egg consumption elicits in all blood types, there are the explicit risks of Salmonella poisoning and other illnesses that eggs pose. There may also be a type of virus-like organism found in chicken tumors that may be transmittable to humans. This organism is thought to be identical to the microbe found by Dr. Peyton Rous in chicken tumors, which he showed to be transmittable. For this pioneering work he received a Nobel Prize in 1966. The work by Virginia Livingston Wheeler, M.D., strongly suggests that most chickens have at least cancer by one year of age, and that this chicken cancer, like the Rous virus, may be transmittable to humans. Dr. Rous, Nobel Prize winner and long-time researcher at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, states that 95% of the chickens for sale in New York City are cancerous. He also concurs with other researchers in stating that the chicken cancer is transmissible. I have to note that the transmissibility of these chicken cancer viruses to humans has not been conclusively proven, but as consumer advocate Ralph Nader points out on this issue, there is no proof to show that the cancer is not transmitted. While this discussion specifically relates to the health of chickens, the primordial question remains: “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” In other words, is there a cancer virus such as the Rous Virus, that may be transmitted through the eggs? This is not completely clear.
Recently, in one year, an estimated 2,400 people have been sickened from salmonella in eggs and more than 550 million eggs have been recalled since early August. Salmonella enters the eggs through the insides of contaminated chicken. One out of every 20,000 chicken eggs contains traces of salmonella deposited into the sac by the hen. Chickens contract salmonella bacteria from their environment, which is contaminated by rodents, birds and flies. These carriers deliver the bacteria to all types of farms -- regardless of whether they're conventional, organic or free-range.
Once the bacteria get in the chicken, the microorganisms thrive under ideal conditions, with internal temperatures of about 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Unfortunately chickens harbor salmonella without offering any signs of illness, making it impossible to know which animals are infected.
The few contaminated eggs that come out of a hen usually contain between two and five microorganisms. While it takes a level of at least 100 bacteria to make a person sick, multiplication happens fast if the eggs are not quickly cooled. If there is a lapse in cleaning practices or an undetected outbreak among the chickens, the percentage of infected animals -- and tainted eggs -- can also increase rapidly because salmonella doubles every 20 minutes under ideal conditions. Even if chickens remain salmonella-free, their eggs can become contaminated from the outside in.
Each egg contains about 9,000 pores that salmonella can essentially enter through from contaminated environmental sources. 130,000 people become ill each year from salmonella in shelled eggs. While salmonella is become increasingly rare due to strict FDA cleaning regulations, chickens in Europe are already being vaccinated against it, and this creates another unknown potentially dangerous variable in the equation.
Flesh-eaters and those who eat eggs have to face the threat of the disease toxoplasmosis in pigs and cattle and trichinosis in pigs, as well as the threat of salmonella poisoning, especially from chickens. It is estimated that approximately one-third of commercial chickens carry salmonella. Most of the one million cases of food poisoning reported yearly are salmonella. People who eat meat are also at a higher risk of various viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitical infections. Toxoplasmosis is one of these. There is now the possibility of Mad Cow Disease (which arises through giving formerly vegetarian animals infected meat in their diet!). Twenty-thousand cases of e-coli from meat occur each year (250–500 are fatal). Camphlobacter and salmonella bacteria are on the increase. Salmonella infections can be found in 30–70 percent of chickens. Camphlobacter infection is found in 80 percent of chickens and 90 percent of turkeys; this bacteria causes intestinal infections similar to salmonella. It is possible that the Camphlobacter and salmonella are transmitted through the eggs as well. In one study of monkeys fed from leukemic cows, 100 percent of the monkeys developed leukemia after one year. This may explain why in Denmark, where there is a high rate of leukemia in cows, there is also a high rate of leukemia in children. In other words, transmission of animal disease to humans is not unusual.
As eggs sit high on the food chain, they are, of course, subject to the same concentration of chemical toxins that all other animal products contain. In fact, periodic testing in the US has found eggs and chickens highly contaminated with PCBs after being fed fish that were contaminated with PCBs. We now have the issue of not only pesticides and herbicides, but also the toxins that accumulate and compound in the bodies of animals higher on the food chain. Eating higher on the food chain (i.e. eating eggs) exposes one to higher levels of toxins including radio-active elements.
Energetically speaking, eggs present a number of aggravations for anyone seeking to balance their constitution and condition. From an Ayurvedic perspective eggs tend to aggravate the emotional and physical heat and natural aggressiveness of pitta types. Yoga considered eggs the most tamasic food. Tamas is a subtle energetic state that creates a veil of spiritual darkness and thus impedes spiritual development. So, in traditional yoga paths, eating eggs is strongly discouraged. It is also associated with the sexual exploitation of sacred feminine of the chicken. From a macrobiotic perspective, eggs are considered an extreme yang food (embodying extreme centripetal force in the macrobiotic system). Because of this, they are indicated only in cases of extreme yin conditions. By macrobiotic standards, they are certainly well outside of the margins for balanced food.
Clearly, based on the above evaluation, especially for those who evaluate their choice of food based on more than just their protein and calorie content, eggs are a poor choice for regular consumption. The risks associated with egg consumption outweigh their benefits of being a high quality protein. For optimum health and spiritual development I recommend an organic, low-glycemic, mineral-rich, well hydrated, plant-source-only, live-food diet.