Salmonella and Eggs
Eggs are one of nature’s most nutritious and economical foods. But you must take special care when handling and preparing fresh eggs and egg products to avoid foodborne illness, sometimes called food poisoning.
The inside of eggs that appear normal can contain a germ called Salmonella that can make you sick, especially if you eat raw or lightly cooked eggs. Eggs are safe when you cook and handle them properly.
How can I reduce my chance of getting a Salmonella infection?
- Consider buying and using pasteurized eggs and egg products, which are widely available.
- Keep eggs refrigerated at 40°F (4°C) or colder at all times. Only buy eggs from stores and suppliers that keep them refrigerated.
- Discard cracked or dirty eggs.
Poultry may carry bacteria such as Salmonella that can contaminate the inside of eggs before the shells are formed. Eggs can also become contaminated from the droppings of poultry.
- Cook eggs until both the yolk and white are firm. Egg dishes should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C) or hotter.
- Make sure that foods that contain raw or lightly cooked eggs, such as hollandaise sauce, Caesar salad dressing, and tiramisu, are made only with pasteurized eggs.
- Eat or refrigerate eggs and foods containing eggs promptly after cooking. Do not keep eggs or foods made with eggs warm or at room temperature for more than 2 hours, or 1 hour if the temperature is 90°F or hotter.
- Wash hands and items that came into contact with raw eggs—including, counter tops, utensils, dishes, and cutting boards—with soap and water.
Illness from Salmonella can be serious and is more dangerous for certain people.
Older adults, infants, and people with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS, diabetes, or an organ transplant, may get a more serious illness that can even be life-threatening.
In most cases, illness lasts 4–7 days and people recover without antibiotic treatment. Symptoms include:
- Abdominal cramps.
Symptoms typically appear 6 to 48 hours after eating a contaminated food, though this period is sometimes much longer. Some people can have diarrhea many times a day for several days and the sick person may need to be hospitalized.
Should I see the doctor?
Contact your doctor or healthcare provider if you have:
- High fever (temperature over 101.5°F).
- Diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving.
- Bloody stools.
- Prolonged vomiting that prevents you from keeping liquids down.
- Signs of dehydration, such as:
- Making very little urine.
- Dry mouth and throat.
- Dizziness when standing up.