Skip Navigation
  • Text Size: A A A
  • Print
  • Email
  • Facebook
  • Tweet
  • Share

Eggs for Easter: Great Food But Handle Safely

Eggs for Easter: Great Food But Handle Safely

Eggs have been used as food for about 6 million years. The ancient cultures of Sumer, Egypt and Greece were all familiar with eggs and egg dishes. In ancient Rome meals often began with an egg course. In fact, the Romans crushed the left-over shells to keep evil spirits from hiding in them. But eggs can contain another kind of evil spirit if they aren’t handled properly: Salmonella, an organism that causes food poisoning, also called foodborne illness. Salmonella, which can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, and fever, can be found on both the outside and inside of eggs that look perfectly normal. In otherwise healthy people, the symptoms generally last a couple of days and taper off within a week. But some people such as pregnant women, young children, older adults and persons with weakened immune systems are at risk of severe illness from Salmonella. In these at-risk individuals, a 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 promptly with antibiotics.

That’s why it’s important to handle fresh eggs properly and these tips explain how to do so.

Refrigerate Eggs Promptly: Keeping eggs adequately refrigerated prevents any Salmonella in the eggs from growing to higher numbers which makes them more likely to cause illness.

  • Buy eggs only from stores that keep them refrigerated.
  • At home, keep eggs refrigerated at 40°F (4°C) until they are needed. Use a refrigerator thermometer to be sure.
  • Refrigerate unused eggs or leftovers that contain eggs promptly.

Keep Clean: The outside as well as the inside of eggs can be contaminated.

  • Wash hands and all food contact surface areas (e.g., counter tops, utensils, dishes, and cutting boards) with soap and water after contact with raw eggs.
  • Discard cracked or dirty eggs.

Cook Eggs Thoroughly: Cooking reduces the number of bacteria present in an egg; however, a lightly cooked egg with a runny egg white or yolk still poses a greater risk than a thoroughly cooked egg. Lightly cooked egg whites and yolks have both caused outbreaks of Salmonella infections.

  • 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 160ºF (71ºC).
  • Eat eggs promptly after cooking. Do not keep eggs warm or at room temperature (between 40 to 140ºF) for more than 2 hours.
  • For recipes that call for raw or lightly cooked eggs, consider using pasteurized shell eggs or pasteurized egg products.

Separate: Never let raw eggs come into contact with any food that will be eaten raw.

Eating Out: Avoid restaurant dishes made with raw or lightly cooked, unpasteurized eggs. When in a restaurant, ask if they use pasteurized eggs before ordering anything that might result in consumption of raw or lightly cooked eggs, such as Hollandaise sauce or Caesar salad dressing.

TaggedEgg | Holiday | Easter

Post new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Comments

Submitted by Alain (not verified) on Friday, May 9, 2014 - 20:27
Thank you for information
Submitted by Eloisa (not verified) on Sunday, May 4, 2014 - 11:20
I live in Brazil where there isn't a government site like foodsafety.gov. So I am a enthusiastic fan of you. Thanks for all helpful and importante informations.