Salmonella and Eggs
Eggs are one of nature's most nutritious and economical foods, but you must take special care when handling and preparing fresh eggs and egg products to avoid foodborne illness, sometimes called "food poisoning."
The inside of eggs that appear normal can contain a germ called Salmonella that can make you sick, especially if eggs are eaten raw or lightly cooked. But eggs are safe when cooked and handled properly.
How can I reduce my chance of getting a Salmonella infection?
- Keep eggs refrigerated at 40°F (4°C) or colder at all times. Only buy eggs from stores and suppliers that keep them refrigerated.
- Discard cracked or dirty eggs.
- Wash hands and items that came into contact with raw eggs, including counter tops, utensils, dishes, and cutting boards, with soap and water.
Wash hands and items that came into contact with raw eggs, including counter tops, utensils, dishes, and cutting boards, with soap and water.
The inside of eggs that appear normal can contain a germ called Salmonella that can make you sick, but eggs are safe when cooked and handled properly.
- Cook eggs until both the yolk and white are firm. Egg dishes should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C) or hotter.
- Eat or refrigerate eggs and foods containing eggs promptly after cooking. Do not keep eggs or foods made with eggs warm or at room temperature for more than 2 hours, or 1 hour is the temperature is 90о F or hotter.
- When eating out, avoid restaurant dishes made with raw or lightly cooked unpasteurized eggs, and check to make sure the restaurant used pasteurized eggs in foods that contain raw or lightly cooked eggs, such as hollandaise sauce, Caesar salad dressing, and tiramisu.
- Consider buying and using pasteurized eggs and egg products, which are widely available.
Illness from Salmonella can be serious and is more dangerous for certain people.
In most cases, illness lasts 4–7 days and people recover without antibiotic treatment. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Symptoms typically appear 6 to 48 hours after eating a contaminated food, though this period is sometimes substantially longer. Diarrhea can be severe, and the ill person may need to be hospitalized. Older adults, infants, and people with weakened immune systems may get more severe illness that can even be life-threatening.
Should I see the doctor?
Contact your doctor or healthcare provider if you have:
- Diarrhea along with a temperature over 101.5°F
- Diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving
- Bloody stools
- Prolonged vomiting that prevents you from keeping liquids down
- Signs of dehydration, such as:
- Making very little urine
- Dry mouth and throat
- Dizziness when standing up
- Page last reviewed: May 25, 2016
- Page last updated: May 25, 2016
- Content source:
- National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases
- Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs