How are eggs cooked to prevent foodborne illness?

Food Safety:Safe Egg Handling Tips

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Eggs are anutritious andaneconomical foodchoice and can be part of a healthy diet.Eggs and egg dishes are often served during theholidays andatparties.It isimportant that youfollow food safety recommendations,when handling and preparing fresh eggsto keep you and your family safe from illness.

I recently became aware of people washing raw eggs in the shell prior to cooking,to prevent a foodborne illness.There are many reasons why people wash eggs in the shell. These reasons include things such as to remove visible dirt and debris, rid the egg of germs and bacteria, out of habit or because a family member has always done it. This practice is not recommended.

Thispracticeis not recommended,andit is thewrongthing to do,according to the research.

Fresh eggs, even those with clean, un-cracked shells, may contain bacteria calledSalmonellathat 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 withSalmonella.

TheFDA has put in place regulations 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.https://www.fda.gov/food/buy-store-serve-safe-food/what-you-need-know-about-egg-safety

To prevent food poisoning, keep eggs refrigerated, cook eggs until yolks are firm, and cook foods containing eggs thoroughly.Handle eggssafely in your home.

Protect yourself,your familyand/or your guests by following thesesafehandling tips when buying, storing, preparing, and serving eggsor foods that containeggs.

Washing eggs

Do not wash eggs from the grocery store before putting them inyourrefrigerator.Place the carton of eggs directly into the refrigerator.Washing is a routine part of commercial egg processing and the eggs do not need to be washed again.Egg terminology:Bloom, the natural coating on just-laid eggs that helps prevent bacteria from permeating the shell, and is removed by the commercial washing process. It is replaced by a light coating of edible mineral oil, which restores protection for long-term home storage of eggs. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/washing-food-does-it-promote-food

Extra handling of the eggs in your home, such as washing them, could increase the risk of cross-contamination, especially if the shell becomes cracked.

Raw eggs

The inside of eggs that appear normal cancontainSalmonellathat can make you sick, especially if you eat raw or lightly cooked eggs. Eggs are safe when you cook and handle them properly.Live poultry can carry bacteria such asSalmonella, which can contaminate the inside of eggs before the shells are formed. Egg shells may become contaminated withSalmonellafrom live poultry droppingsor the area where the eggswerelaid.

  • Make sure that foods that contain raw or lightly cooked eggs, such as hollandaise sauce, Caesar salad dressing, and tiramisu, are made only with pasteurized eggs.

  • Do not taste or eat any raw dough or batter suchas cookie dough and cake mix, made with raw eggs.It is tempting to lick the spoon or the beaters with batter on them, but do not do this.Bake or cook raw dough and batter before eating.

https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/communication/no-raw-dough.html

  • Wash hands and items thatencounteredraw eggs, including countertops, utensils, dishes, and cutting boards, with soap and water.

  • Packaging materials from raw eggs, meat, or poultry also can cause cross-contamination. Never reuse them with other food items. These and other disposable packaging materials, such as egg cartons, foam meat trays, or plastic wraps, should be discarded immediately after you have removed their contents.https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/washing-food-does-it-promote-food

Buying eggs

You can help keep eggs safe by making wise buying decisions at the grocery store.Peek inside the carton!Discard cracked or dirty eggs.If the egg carton is dirty, select a clean carton.Consider buying and using pasteurized eggs and egg products, which arecommonlyavailable.Buy eggs only if sold from a refrigerator or refrigerated case.

Egg storage

Storeeggspromptly in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 40° F or below. Store eggs in their original carton and use them within 3 weeks for best quality.Proper storage of eggs can affect both quality and safety.https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep-food-safe/foodkeeper-app

Handwashing and contact surfaces

Wash hands anditems thatcame into contact withraw eggs,including counter tops, utensils, dishes, and cutting boardswith soap and waterbefore and after theycome in contact withraw eggs or raweggcontaining foods.Wash hands immediately after handling raw meat and poultry. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend you wet your hands with water, lather with soap and then scrub your hands for 20 seconds.Hand washing after handling raweggs,meat or poultry or its packaging is a necessity because anything you touch afterwards could become contaminated.https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/index.html

Preparing/Cooking eggs

Cook eggs until both the yolk and white are firm. Egg dishes should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C) or hotter.Cook eggs until both the yolk and the white are firm. Scrambled eggs should not be runny.Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 160° F.Always use a food thermometer to be sure.https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/safe-temperature-chart

Using a food thermometer is the only sure way of knowing if your food has reached a high enough temperature to destroy germs, including foodborne illness-causing bacteria, such as Salmonella.

Serving eggs

Follow these serving guidelines for eggs and egg dishes.Serve cooked eggs (such as hard-boiled eggs and fried eggs) and egg-containing foods (such as such as quiches and soufflés) immediately after cooking. Cooked eggs and egg dishes may be refrigerated for serving later but should be thoroughly reheated to 165° F before serving.Never leave cooked eggs oreggdishes out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours or for more than 1 hour when temperatures are above 90° F. Bacteria that can cause illness grow quickly at warm temperatures (between 40° F and 140° F).Keep cold egg dishesor items such as deviled eggson ice,if they are going to stay outfor up to2 hours.https://www.fightbac.org/food-safety-basics/the-core-four-practices/

Storage of cooked egg dishes

Eat or refrigerate eggs and foods containing eggs promptly after cooking. Do not keep eggs or foods made with eggs warm or at room temperature for more than 2 hours, or 1 hour if the temperature is 90°F or hotter.Refrigerate leftover cooked egg dishes and use within 3 to 4 days. When refrigerating a large amount of a hot egg-containing leftover, divide it into several shallow containers so it will cool quickly.Use hard-cooked eggs (in the shell or peeled) within 1 week after cooking.Use frozen eggs within 1 year. Eggs should not be frozen in their shells.https://www.fda.gov/food/buy-store-serve-safe-food/what-you-need-know-about-egg-safety

Transporting eggs and egg dishes

For picnicsand parties, pack cooked eggs and egg dishes in an insulated cooler with enough ice or frozen gel packs to keep them cold. Transport the cooler in the passenger compartment of thevehicle, not in the much warmer trunk. At the picnicor partyarea, put the cooler in the shade if possible and keep the lid closed as much as you can.For school or work, pack cooked eggs with a small frozen gel pack or a frozen juice box.https://www.fightbac.org/food-safety-basics/the-core-four-practices/

Clean surfaces and Prevent Cross-contamination

Thoroughly clean and then sanitizeanysurface that has potentially touched or been contaminated by raweggs, including the inner sink.To prevent this cross-contamination, clean sinks and countertops with hot soapy water and then apply a commercial or homemade sanitizer or disinfectant whenever theycome in contact withany rawegg.

Foryourprotection, you should sanitize utensils and disinfect surfaces with solutions that can eliminate illness-causing germs. If using commercial sanitizers or disinfectants in your kitchen, choose ones that are approved for your kitchen surfaces and follow the manufacturers instructions to use each product safely and effectively.

For More Information

UF/IFAS Extension, Food Safety-https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_food_safety

The Partnership for Food Safety Education/Fight Bachttps://www.fightbac.org/

Washing food: Does it promote food safety?https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/washing-food-does-it-promote-food

Egg products and food handling-https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/eggs

CDC/Foodborne germs and illnesses-https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/foodborne-germs.html

Category: Food Safety, Health & Nutrition, UF/IFAS Extension, Uncategorized

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4 Comments on Food Safety:Safe Egg Handling Tips

  1. Rose+Bechard+Butman
    April 27, 2021

    Thank you! As kids the Easter eggs were left out all day. I wondered how long you could keep a hard boiled egg before eating it.

    • Brenda Marty-Jimenez
      April 28, 2021

      Hi Rose!
      Thank you for your feedback on handling eggs and food safety.

  2. Jeanna Rhoulhac
    April 28, 2021

    THANK YOU BRENDA: this was very helpful information.

    • Brenda Marty-Jimenez
      April 28, 2021

      Hi Jeanna!
      Thank you for your feedback on handling eggs and food safety.

Author Profile

Brenda Marty-Jimenez

Brenda Marty-Jimenez is a Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent IV providing educational programming for UF/IFAS Extension Broward County.

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