Food Safety Tips for Storing and Using Eggs

Egg Safety Tips
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Egg Safety Tips

  • Refrigerate eggs as soon as possible in their original carton in the coldest part of the refrigerator (usually the body of the fridge, not the door). Discard cracked or dirty eggs.
  • Wash your hands, cooking utensils, and food preparation surfaces with soap and water after contact with raw eggs.
  • Cook your eggs until both the white and the yolk are firm. (Salmonella could be in either part.)
  • Use pasteurized egg whites like Egg Beaters in place of regular eggs. Or try pasteurized eggs, which look and taste like regular eggs but have been heated in the shell to kill bacteria and viruses. You can identify them by the red “P” that’s stamped on the carton or on each egg.
  • Eat cooked eggs promptly. They shouldn’t be kept warm (like in a steam table at a restaurant) or at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Avoid dishes made with raw or undercooked eggs. That includes homemade (or restaurant-made) Hollandaise sauce or Caesar salad dressing. Commercially bottled versions are okay.

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Egg Nutrient Claims

Caged and cage-free hens typically eat the same corn-based diet, so there’s no nutritional difference between their eggs. But some producers supplement their hens’ diets with ingredients that raise the level of some nutrients.

Two large Eggland’s Best eggs, for example, contain 50 percent of the Daily Value for vitamin E. That’s 10 times as much as two regular large eggs contain. If an egg carton makes a claim, check the Nutrition Facts label to see what percent of a day’s worth of the nutrient the eggs supply.

The previous content is an excerpt from the article “Walking On Eggshells”, originally published in the November, 2010 Nutrition Action Healthletter.

5 Replies to “Food Safety Tips for Storing and Using Eggs”

  1. You stated that caged and cage-free hens eat the same thing. Cage free hens eat loads of grass, leaves, insects, etc. Our chickens do not have a corn based diet. There is no comparison to caged hens.
    Also, you recommend that people buy pasteurized eggs such as Egglands Best. Pasteurization ruins many nutrients that support good health. Free range hens do not get salmonella. It is the cramming of hens into massive warehouses that causes them to have salmonella.
    You should be recommending that your readers make an effort to get local farm raised eggs which are never pasteurized or at least buy organic eggs.
    The name of your newsletter is “Nutrition Action”. This article is supporting poor nutrition practices. Please be careful in the future when giving advice about nutrition.

    1. From Nutrition Action Healthletter: Cage-free does not mean free-range. Cage-free hens do not necessarily go outside. We mentioned pasteurized eggs as an alternative. For the immunocompromised, this may be a prudent choice. Pasteurization results in a small loss of nutrients, a sensible tradeoff for some people. A recent study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that the environment and the eggs of free-range hens were just as likely to be contaminated with Salmonella as the environment and eggs of conventionally-caged hens.

      Jones DR, Anderson KE, Guard J: Prevalence of coliforms, Salmonella, Listeria, and Campylobacter associated with eggs and the environment of conventional cage and free-range egg production. Poult Sci. 2012 May;91(5):1195-202.

  2. Any other benefits in Egglands Best Eggs beside 50 % more Vit. E? They advertise lower cholesterol than other brands. Is this true?

    1. From Nutrition Action Healthletter: Eggland-brand eggs have higher levels of some nutrients like vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, and vitamin E because their hens are fed a diet fortified with vitamin E and supplemented with nutrient-rich ingredients like kelp and rice bran. Eggland eggs have only slightly less cholesterol than regular eggs: 175 mg vs 186 mg for a 50 gram egg.

      Eggland’s claim on its website that it does not feed hormones or steroids to its chickens is misleading. No egg producers in the United States do that because it’s prohibited by the Food and Drug Administration.

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