Tips for Egg Safety

— Written By N.C. Cooperative Extension

Eggs, like meat, poultry, milk, and other foods are safe when handled properly. A bacterium, Salmonella Enteritidis, can be on both the outside and inside of eggs and inside of eggs that appear to be normal. If eggs are eaten raw or undercooked, the bacterium can cause illness.

Eggs that you buy at the grocery store are washed and sanitized before packing. There is relatively low risk for consumers to become ill from salmonella when handling and cooking eggs properly.

At the grocery store

  • Buy refrigerated eggs that are clean and not broken.
  • Check the date on the carton before purchase; don’t buy past the Sell By Date.
  • Pack the eggs on top of the grocery bag to prevent damage on the trip home.

 Keeping eggs safe

  • Get the eggs home and refrigerate immediately
  • Store eggs in their carton they come in. It is best not to store eggs in the refrigerator door, because they are exposed to warmer air every time the refrigerator door is opened.
  • Uncooked eggs can be kept in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks after purchase.
  • Do not keep eggs warm or at room temperature for more than 2 hours.


  • Avoid eating raw eggs. Young children, elderly persons and persons with weakened immune systems or debilitating illness should avoid raw and undercooked eggs.
  • Be sure to cook eggs thoroughly until the whites and yokes are firm. Eggs should not be runny.
  • Serve eggs immediately after cooking; refrigerate any cooked eggs promptly.
  • Avoid eating foods that contain raw eggs, such as raw cookie dough.

Review information from the Centers for Disease Control, Egg Safety Center, and Extension resources at  “ Type “egg safety” in the search box.

Eleanor Summers
Extension Agent
Family & Consumer Sciences


Posted on Sep 20, 2010
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