Egg Safety Tips: How to Handle Eggs Safely to Prevent Foodborne Illness by Donna John
The egg has been regarded as a symbol of new life and has been associated with springtime celebrations, such as Easter and Passover. But, even during festive occasions, eggs can cause food poisoning (also called foodborne illness). That's why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reminds you to follow safe food-handling practices when buying, storing, preparing and serving eggs.
Salmonella can be found on both the outside and inside of eggs that look perfectly normal. Protect yourself and your family by following these food safety tips to prevent food poisoning:
- Wash hands, utensils, dishes and work surfaces (countertops and cutting boards) with soap and hot water after contact with raw eggs and raw egg-containing foods.
- Discard cracked or dirty eggs.
- Never let raw eggs come into contact with food that will be eaten raw (or with utensils that could cross-contaminate other foods).
- Cook eggs thoroughly until both the yolk and white are firm. Lightly cooked egg whites and yolks have both caused outbreaks of Salmonella infections.
- Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 160 degrees F.
- Eat eggs promptly after cooking. Do not keep eggs warm or at room temperature (between 40 degrees to 140 degrees F) for more than two hours.
- For recipes that call for raw or undercooked eggs (like Caesar salad dressing and homemade ice cream), consider using pasteurized shell eggs or pasteurized egg products.
- Buy eggs only if sold from a refrigerator or refrigerated case.
- At home, keep eggs refrigerated at 40 degrees F or below until they are needed.
- Refrigerate unused eggs or leftovers that contain eggs promptly.
- For school or work, pack cooked eggs with a small frozen gel pack or a frozen juice box.
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