You CAN get food poisoning from eggs.
More Info: The most common type of food poisoning from eggs is Salmonella. In fact, eggs are the most common food source linked to SE infections. Those who ingest infected eggs will generally begin experiencing food poisoning symptoms within 12-72 hours, which include diarrhea, cramping, nausea, and fever. The symptoms can last 4-7 days.
How Do Eggs Become Infected with Salmonella?
Salmonella bacteria can enter an egg a variety of ways. The Salmonella bacteria can easily be introduced at poultry farms through rodents, insects, and birds, which can all contaminate food and water sources. Chickens that are carrying the Salmonella bacteria can pass it on through their eggs. Even trace amounts of Salmonella can quickly multiply at an alarming rate if the tainted eggs aren’t refrigerated quickly enough, which according to the FDA is within 36 hours after laying.
Non-infected eggs can also become infected by Salmonella directly through their shells. Eggshells have thousands of tiny pours that can facilitate the introduction of Salmonella if the eggs are exposed to the bacteria during the processing process such as on an infected conveyor belt or in an infected egg-wash bath.
Prevalence of Salmonella bacterium in Eggs
The CDC estimates that one in twenty-thousand eggs is internally infected by the Salmonella bacterium. In the US, that equates to 2.2 million contaminated eggs. The odds increase in settings where eggs are pooled together such as restaurants.
This is especially problematic in settings that affect high-risk populations, such as children and the elderly, where a pooled infected egg is not cooked properly in a school cafeteria or nursing home kitchen.
Ingesting Eggs with Salmonella
You can reduce your risk of contracting the Salmonella bacterium by fully cooking your eggs. Runny whites and yolks increase your risk of illness. Recipes containing eggs should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160°F. Ingesting eggs that are raw or undercooked will increase your chances of contracting the bacterium.
How to Safeguard from Getting Food Poisoning From Eggs
- Always refrigerate eggs at a temperature of 40 degrees or below. This will keep any Salmonella present in the egg from multiplying.
- Cooked eggs should be eaten right away. Discard any cooked eggs that have been exposed to temperatures above 40 degrees for more than two hours. (Such as hard boiled Easter eggs)
- Throw away any eggs in storage that are cracked.
- Don’t consume raw or undercooked eggs.
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