Egg Handling & Safety

PrintFriendly and PDF


The egg is one of nature’s most nutritious, economical and versatile foods.  With proper care and handling, it poses no greater risk than any other perishable food.

Bacteria will not grow at temp. <40oF and is killed at 160oF.

One of several types of bacteria which can cause food poisoning if ingested in large numbers is Salmonella.

It is found in the intestinal tract of animals, birds, insects, reptiles, seafood, and people.  The bacteria can easily be passed from the intestinal tract to the hands and on to food.

Although the inside of the egg was once considered almost sterile, Salmonella Enteritidis (Se) has been estimate that, across the country, the likelihood of your finding an infected egg is about 0.005% (five one thousandths of a percent).

If an egg does contain Se, the numbers in a freshly laid egg probably will be small and, if the eggs are properly refrigerated, will not multiply enough to cause illness in a healthy person.

All animal protein foods provide a ready supply of both food and moisture for bacterial growth.

This is not cause for alarm.  It simply means that these foods are perishable and should receive refrigeration, sanitary handling and adequate cooking.

The majority of salmonellosis outbreaks have been attributed to foods other than eggs-chicken, beef, fish – to human carriers, and through them, utensils and other foods during preparation.

Of the outbreaks involving eggs, almost all have occurred in the food service sector and have been the result of inadequate refrigeration and insufficient cooking.