avoid the possibility of foodborne illness, fresh eggs must be handled carefully.
Even eggs with clean, uncracked shells may occasionally contain bacteria called
Salmonella that can cause an intestinal infection. The most effective way
to prevent egg-related illness is by knowing how to buy, store, handle and cook
eggs—or foods that contain them—safely. That is why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) requires all cartons of shell eggs that have not been treated to destroy
Salmonella must carry the following safe handling statement:
Safe Handling Instructions:
To prevent illness from bacteria: keep eggs refrigerated, cook eggs until
yolks are firm, and cook foods containing eggs thoroughly. *
these instructions is important for everyone but especially for those most vulnerable
to foodborne disease—children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems
due to steroid use, conditions such as AIDS, cancer or diabetes, or such treatments
as chemotherapy for cancer or immune suppression because of organ transplants.
that have been treated to destroy Salmonella—by in-shell pasteurization,
for example—are not required to carry safe handling instructions.
eggs only if sold from a refrigerator or refrigerated case. T
the carton and make sure that the eggs are clean and the shells are not cracked.
- Refrigerate promptly.
- Store eggs in their
original carton and use them within 3 weeks for best quality.
preparing any food, remember that cleanliness is key!
hands, utensils, equipment, and work surfaces with hot, soapy water before
and after they come in contact with eggs and egg-containing foods
cooking is perhaps the most important step in making sure eggs are safe.
Cook eggs until both the
yolk and the white are firm. Scrambled eggs should not be runny.
and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 160°F (72°C). Use a food
thermometer to be sure.
recipes that call for eggs that are raw or undercooked when the dish is served—Caesar
salad dressing and homemade ice cream are two examples—use either shell eggs that
have been treated to destroy Salmonella, by pasteurization or another approved
method, or pasteurized egg products. Treated shell eggs are available from a growing
number of retailers and are clearly labeled, while pasteurized egg products are
can multiply in temperatures from 40°F (5°C) to 140°F (60°C), so it's very important
to serve foods safely.
cooked eggs and egg-containing foods immediately after cooking.
buffet-style serving, hot egg dishes should be kept hot, and cold egg dishes kept
- Eggs and egg
dishes, such as quiches or soufflés, may be refrigerated for serving later but
should be thoroughly reheated to 165°F (74°C) before serving.
eggs, including hard-boiled eggs, and egg-containing foods should not sit out
for more than 2 hours. Within 2 hours either reheat or refrigerate.
hard-cooked eggs (in the shell or peeled) within 1 week after cooking
frozen eggs within one year. Eggs should not be frozen in their shells. To freeze
whole eggs, beat yolks and whites together. Egg whites can also be frozen by themselves.
- Refrigerate leftover
cooked egg dishes and use within 3-4 days. When refrigerating a large amount of
a hot egg-containing leftover, divide it into several shallow containers so it
will cool quickly.
eggs for a picnic should be packed in an insulated cooler with enough ice or frozen
gel packs to keep them cold.
put the cooler in the trunk—carry it in the air-conditioned passenger compartment
of the car.
- If taking
cooked eggs to work or school, pack them with a small frozen gel pack or a frozen
The Safe Handling Statement must appear on all cartons of untreated shell eggs
by September 2001.
FDA also requires that, by June 2001, untreated shell eggs sold at stores, roadside
stands, etc., must be stored and displayed under refrigeration at 45° F (7° C).
FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Food Safety Website:
(888) SAFEFOOD See