Proper Procedure is Key

Bacteria and viruses are the most common causes of foodborne illnesses, and they are naturally present on any raw food. Very few types of bacteria and viruses are potentially pathogenic, or disease-causing.

Following proper procedures for cleaning, separation, cooking and storage of eggs helps ensure their safety. Always thoroughly cook eggs to destroy pathogens and reduce risk of illness.

These bacteria have the ability to result in human illness, and egg farmers vigilantly work to prevent them.


Salmonella lives in the intestinal tract of humans and animals, especially birds. Salmonella can be passed to humans by eating contaminated foods. The two most common types are Salmonella Enteritidis and Salmonella Typhimurium, which account for half of all human infections in the U.S. Salmonellosis causes diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within eight to 72 hours after eating food contaminated with Salmonella. On average only 1 of every 20,000 commercially produced eggs might contain the Salmonella bacteria, so you might encounter an infected egg once every 84 years. Thoroughly cooked eggs are safe, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC.)

Bacillus cereus

Bacillus cereus is a bacteria that can be harmful to humans and cause foodborne illness, or can be beneficial for animals as probiotics.


Campylobacter is typically found in the reproductive organs, intestinal tract and oral cavity of humans and animals. Symptoms of campylobacterosis typically include headache, muscle pain and fever that is followed by watery or bloody diarrhea, nausea and abdominal pain, which occur two to five days after ingestion and can last from three to 10 days.

Staphylococcus Aureus

Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium capable of producing a toxin that causes illness in humans. Staphylococcus aureus exists in air, dust, sewage, water, milk and food or on food equipment, environmental surfaces, humans and animals. Staphylococcal food poisoning occurs when humans ingest food contaminated with the toxin. Onset of symptoms usually occurs rapidly, and symptoms include nausea, vomiting, retching, abdominal cramping and fatigue. More severe cases may cause headache, muscle cramping and transient changes in blood pressure and pulse rates.

Avian Influenza Not Risk to Human Health

Avian influenza (AI), commonly known as “bird flu,” is an infectious bird disease caused by type A strains of the influenza virus. Wild birds carry the virus, but usually do not become sick. Domesticated birds can become very sick and die if they catch the virus. Avian influenza cannot be transmitted through safely-handled and properly-cooked eggs, chicken or turkey. The identified strains found on egg and turkey farms in 2014-2015 have not affected any humans and are not considered a risk to public health.