Egg Safety

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Harvard Medical School
Chrome 2001
Chrome 2001

Egg Safety

Food Safety
Egg Safety
Egg Safety
Salmonella is no yolk.
InteliHealth Medical Content

Reviewed by the Faculty of Harvard Medical School

Egg Safety

Between fear of cholesterol and worries about salmonella, eggs get a bad rap. One egg per 30,000 is contaminated with salmonella, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Raw or undercooked meat and poultry are more likely culprits. Nevertheless, with many millions of eggs consumed every year, the consumption of raw eggs remains a risk of acquiring salmonella infection.

Here are a few handling techniques to protect you from bad eggs.


  • Buy eggs that are clean and free of cracks.
  • Check the expiration date.
  • Egg grade doesn't indicate freshness (AA has a stronger yolk and thicker white).

In the kitchen

  • Refrigerate eggs immediately.
  • Discard any cracked eggs.
  • Don't store for longer than a month.
  • Don't store hard-boiled eggs for more than a week.
  • Avoid eating raw eggs or food made with raw eggs.
  • Avoid keeping raw or cooked eggs and egg-containing food out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours.
  • Use raw eggs within 5 weeks of bringing them home and hard-cooked eggs within 1 week.
  • Wash hands, equipment and utensils after coming in contact with eggs and food containing eggs.
  • Simmer boiled eggs for 3 1/2 minutes to destroy bacteria; scrambled eggs and omelets should not be runny.
  • Scrambled eggs should be cooked for at least 1 minute at 250° F and kept at 165° F afterward.
  • Poached eggs should be cooked for 5 minutes in boiling water.
  • Sunnyside fried-eggs should be cooked with the frying pan at 250° F for 7 minutes with the pan uncovered and 4 minutes with it covered.
  • "Over-easy" eggs should be cooked at 250°F for at least 3 minutes on one side and 2 minutes on the other.
  • Boiled eggs in the shell should be cooked in boiling water while completely submerged for 7 minutes.
  • Cook eggs thoroughly until both the yolk and white are firm.


Last updated September 09, 2013

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