Food Safety Education Month – Eggs

broken egg

In honor of Food Safety Education Month, let’s take a closer look at eggs. Eggs are an affordable high-protein food. They contain 13 essential vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants. Sunnyside up and over easy eggs seem to be what everyone is serving these days. But did you know it’s safer to eat eggs that are cooked all the way through? That’s why we’re always told not to eat cookie dough because it contains raw eggs! Keep your family safe by following these food safety guidelines: 

  • Eggs: cook until the yolk and whites are firm
  • Egg dishes (quiches and casseroles): at least 160°F 

Salmonella is a bacterium that can be found in eggs and leads to foodborne illness. There is no way to tell if an egg has Salmonella just by looking at it. The best way to avoid Salmonella is by practicing food safety —from the grocery store, to your fridge, to your plate. Below are some important food safety tips.

At the Grocery Store

  • Check to make sure your eggs are clean, uncracked, and kept refrigerated before buying. Cracked or dirty eggs should be thrown away.
  • Purchase “pasteurized” eggs.
  • Keep eggs away from fruits, veggies, and other shelf-stable foods in your shopping cart to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Keep your eggs at the top of your shopping cart so they don’t crack.

Storing Eggs 

  • Put the eggs in the fridge as soon as possible. Make sure your fridge is set to 40°F or below. 
  • Do not store the eggs in the door because this is the warmest part of the refrigerator. 
  • Do not wash the eggs because they have a protective coating that could be destroyed. Without this layer, there could be extra bacterial growth.
  • Do not keep the eggs at room temperature for more than 2 hours total (1 hour in warmer weather)

Cooking and Handling Eggs

  • Wash your hands before and after handling eggs.
  • Sanitize all surfaces that came into contact with the eggs. 
  • Salmonella is killed at 160°F, but you still have to be careful with everything the eggs touches, including your hands.

If you have more questions check out for answers to frequently asked questions about eggs!

-Amy Owens, Dietetic Intern

© 2024 North Carolina Cooperative Extension
Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

North Carolina State University
Agricultural and Human Sciences Department

Cooperative Extension at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES)

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