There’s no better time to brush up on proper egg safety than during Food Safety Education Month, which is recognized each September. According to foodsafety.gov, there are about 48 million cases of foodborne illness reported annually, which means that roughly 1 in 6 Americans experience food poisoning each year. Keep these egg-dos and egg-don’ts in mind when handling eggs in the kitchen to protect yourself and your family from getting a foodborne illness.
Egg-Do: Refrigerate your eggs.
Eggs should be stored in the refrigerator at 45°F or below and should never be left out for more than two hours. Always keep eggs in their original carton so the Julian date can be easily referenced when checking to see how much longer the eggs will be safe to eat. Click here to learn how to read a carton’s Julian date.
Egg-Don’t: Store eggs in the refrigerator door.
Location is key when storing eggs! Store eggs on an interior shelf inside the refrigerator where the temperature remains stable at 45°F or below. Eggs should never be stored on the refrigerator door where the temperature is likely to fluctuate as it is opened and closed throughout the day.
Egg-Do: Save leftover egg dishes for later.
Don’t let leftovers from your favorite egg dish go to waste! Pack them into a container and refrigerate within two hours, then enjoy in 3-4 days. Remember, only reheat what you can eat. Reheated leftovers that aren’t eaten should be thrown away.
Egg-Don’t: Keep leftovers in the back of the fridge.
Make sure leftovers that contain eggs don’t get pushed to the back of the fridge where you might forget about them. If you can’t eat leftovers within 3-4 days, put them in a shallow container in smaller portions and freeze to enjoy later. Thoroughly reheat leftovers to an internal temperature of 165°F.
Egg-Do: Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of egg dishes.
Did you know that every egg dish has different cooking and baking requirements? The best way to ensure eggs are properly cooked is by using a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the dish. For example, omelets and frittatas should be cooked to 160°F or until no visible liquid egg remains. Use our handy egg cooking guide to learn how to safely enjoy your favorite egg dishes.
Egg-Don’t: Wash eggs before cooking or baking.
Eggs are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before they are packed into cartons and shipped to grocery stores. This sanitizing process removes a natural, protective layer that protects the shell, which is why eggs must always remain refrigerated to keep them fresh. Improper washing of eggs at home could lead to bacterial contamination.
For more egg safety tips, follow the Egg Safety Center on Twitter and Facebook.