How to Handle Eggs Safely

Small and Backyard Flocks, Food Safety, Ag Zone, Science for Youth June 02, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

If you purchase eggs from the store, there are things you can do to handle them safely.

  • Your eggs  should be kept in the egg carton you bought them in. Keeping the eggs in the carton protects the eggs and helps to prevent them from picking up odors from other things in the refrigerator.
  • The carton with the eggs should be kept in the refrigerator on one of the shelves.
  • Do not store the eggs on in the door of the refrigerator. The refrigerator door is opened and closed a lot of times each day. This can cause the temperature of the eggs to go up and down and reduce the quality of the eggs. Also, if the door is handled roughly, the eggs might get broken. 

If you have your own flock of hens, here is what you can do handle eggs safely.

  • Make sure that the hens are laying in nests.
  • The nests need to be clean and have a good layer of bedding material. This will prevent the eggs from getting dirty with the poop from the hens. The poop from chickens can have bacteria like salmonella that can make you sick.
  • Do not use eggs that are very dirty.
  • It is best to collect your eggs every day, wash them and put them into cartons in the refrigerator.
  • To wash the eggs, use running warm water from the facet. The temperature of the water should be warmer than the temperature of an egg.
  • Do not let the eggs sit in water.
  • Want to know what happens when you wash dirty eggs with cold water? An eggshell can have about 10,000 tiny holes called pores that can allow bacteria and other contaminants to enter if they are washed in cold water, or allowed to sit in water!

Other tips for handling eggs safely include:

  • Do not use broken or cracked eggs.
  • It is recommended that you cook your eggs. Do not eat raw eggs.

Want to read more? Check out Safe Handling of Eggs from Small and Backyard Flocks.

Author

Dr. Jacquie Jacob
University of Kentucky
jacquie.jacob@uky.edu

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.