Egg safety tips you should know.

January 31, 2023

β€˜β€™To avoid bacterial infection, keep eggs refrigerated, cook eggs until the yolks are firm, and cook eggs-containing dishes thoroughly.’’

Eggs are a nutritious food that can be included in a balanced diet. However, there are other risks involved, and to be safe, eggs must be handled as unbroken, clean, and fresh. Both egg white and yolk are high in protein. Protein accounts for around 12.6% of the edible portion of an egg. Eggs are also high in vitamins A, B, E, and K. When dealing with eggs, it’s critical to practice good food safety. Here are some good egg safety measures to remember.

Why should you refrigerate eggs?

Keep eggs in a climate-controlled refrigerated place to avoid temperature fluctuations. When taking eggs out of the fridge for usage, do not keep them out for any longer than necessary. A chilled egg left out at room temperature can sweat, allowing contaminating bacteria to proliferate. Fresh eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks, but always check the use-by date on the box.

Safe Handling:

To avoid bacterial infection, keep eggs refrigerated, cook eggs until the yolks are firm, and thoroughly cook egg-containing foods.

Handling raw egg and egg products:

Even eggs with clean, broken shells can be harmful if handled improperly. When handling eggs, cross-contamination can occur.

To avoid cross-contamination, equipment and surfaces should be washed and sanitized before and after handling raw eggs and egg products.

  • Wash hands before and after handling eggs.
  • Minimise the shell-to-egg contact when breaking eggs.
  • After handling eggs clean and sanitize utensils, equipment, and other food contact surfaces.

Eggs and Salmonella:

Fresh eggs, even if they have clean, uncracked shells, may contain Salmonella bacteria, which can cause food poisoning.  The FDA has placed laws in place to aid in reducing egg contamination on farms, during transportation, and storage, but consumers also play a crucial part in preventing illnesses associated with eggs.

Salmonella is the most frequently reported bacteria responsible for foodborne illness and it is commonly connected with eggs and egg products. Salmonella infection causes gastroenteritis, which can linger for days or weeks and bring symptoms such as headache, fever, stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

Salmonella can enter eggshells when birds lay eggs or when the eggs come into contact with bird droppings after being laid. Salmonella can potentially contaminate the egg’s contents as it develops within the bird before the shell is developed.

Egg Allergy:

An allergic reaction to egg protein causes egg allergy. This protein is usually present in egg white, but it is also found in the yolk. Some foods are more susceptible than others to produce allergic reactions in prone individuals due to the type of proteins they contain. Eggs contain proteins that have the correct size and stability in the raw condition to induce allergies, but in most cases, these proteins cannot withstand the influence of heat.

What happened if you eat a bad egg:

If you consume a tainted egg, you are more likely to be exposed to bacteria that can cause food poisonings, such as Salmonella and E. coli. The symptoms include diarrhea, fever, vomiting, and abdominal cramps. Symptoms often appear six to 48 hours after eating a tainted egg and can last four to seven days. The symptoms usually go away on their own.

Signs that show an egg has gone bad:

  • Off-color or green egg white
  • Clear egg white
  • Black or green spots inside the egg
  • Pink or iridescent egg white

Storage of eggs:

Every egg has a pointed end and a blunt end, the latter of which contains an air cell. This air cell serves as a buffer, keeping germs such as salmonella away from the yolk. Storing each egg with the pointed end down and the blunt, rounded side up helps to retain the yolk centre.

If you store your eggs with the blunt side down, gravity will eventually cause the air cell to lift up, putting the germs closer to the egg yolk. However, if you store them with the pointed side down, the airbag will remain at the top and keep your egg fresher for longer. While germs can be found in any part of an egg, most bacteria are normally located in the yolk rather than the whites. This is because the yellow yolk contains the nutrients that bacteria require to develop.

Storing hard-boiled egg:

When shell eggs are hard-cooked, the protective layer is washed away, allowing bacteria to penetrate the shell pores. They have a much lower shelf life than raw shell eggs. This is because boiling an egg destroys the shell’s protective outer coating, making it more porous and prone to germs and other pollutants. Refrigerate hard-cooked eggs within two hours of cooking and use them within one week.

How to check the freshness of the egg:

Float test:

  • Fill a glass bowl with tap water and keep it at room temperature for 15 minutes. Drop one egg at a time. 
  • If the egg sinks on its side, it is fresh and can be securely stored in the fridge for two to three weeks.
  • One-week-old eggs will sink as well, but they will land with the pointy tip-tilted upwards while still slightly on their side.
  • Stale eggs should drop to the bottom, with one point facing upwards.
  • Extremely old egg should float to the surface.

Tips for egg eaters:

  • Only buy eggs from a refrigerator or refrigerated case.
  • Examine the eggs to ensure that they are clean and that the shells are not cracked.
  • Keep eggs in the coldest portion of the refrigerator, which is normally a middle or lower shelf, rather than in the door, where the temperature fluctuates more.
  • Store at a temperature of 40Β°C or below.
  • For optimal quality, keep eggs in their original carton and utilize them within 3 weeks.
  • Consume hard-cooked eggs within 1 week of cooking.
  • Use frozen eggs within one year of purchase. Eggs in their shells should not be frozen. To freeze whole eggs, combine the yolks and whites.


Preventive measures such as ensuring a clean and sanitary processing environment, as well as personal cleanliness, will limit the number of diseases caused by eggs. Consumers should keep in mind that the quality and appearance of eggs are mostly determined by how and for how long eggs are stored.

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