The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Egg Safety – Protect Yourself and Your Family!
Fresh eggs, even those with clean, uncracked shells, may contain bacteria called Salmonella that can cause foodborne illness, often called “food poisoning.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that 79,000 cases of foodborne illness and 30 deaths each year are caused by eating eggs contaminated with Salmonella. FDA has put regulations in place to help prevent contamination of eggs on the farm and during shipping and storage, but consumers also play a key role in preventing illness linked to eggs.
Protect yourself and your family by following these safe handling tips when buying, storing, preparing, and serving eggs—or foods that contain them.
The FDA Provides the Following Educational Video
What is Salmonella?
Salmonella, the name of a group of bacteria, is a common cause of food poisoning in the United States. Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, and vomiting 12 to 72 hours after infection. Symptoms usually last 4 to 7 days and most people get better without treatment. However, in some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that they need to be hospitalized. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated quickly with antibiotics. Certain people are at greater risk for severe illness and include children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems (such as transplant patients and individuals with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and diabetes).
Download the Article
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Recommendations
What are the specific actions I can take to reduce my risk of a Salmonella infection from eggs?
- Like other foods, keep eggs refrigerated at ≤40° F (≤4° C) at all times. Buy eggs only from stores or other suppliers that keep them refrigerated.
- Discard cracked or dirty eggs.
- Wash hands and all food contact surface areas (counter tops, utensils, dishes, and cutting boards) with soap and water after contact with raw eggs. Then disinfect the food contact surfaces using a sanitizing agent, such as bleach, following label instructions.
- Eggs should be thoroughly cooked until both the yolk and white are firm. Recipes containing eggs mixed with other foods should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C).
- Eat eggs promptly after cooking. Do not keep eggs warm or at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
- Refrigerate unused or leftover egg-containing foods promptly.
- Avoid restaurant dishes made with raw or lightly cooked, unpasteurized eggs. Restaurants should use pasteurized eggs in any recipe (such as Hollandaise sauce or Caesar salad dressing) that would result in consumption of raw or lightly cooked eggs.
- Consumption of raw or undercooked eggs should be avoided, especially by young children, elderly persons, and persons with weakened immune systems or debilitating illness.
- Consumers can consider buying and using pasteurized shell eggs, which are available for purchase from certain stores and suppliers
Read more from the CDC here
Last Updated: 2016-03-28