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Food Safety Focus (189th Issue, April 2022) – Article 3

Keeping Shell Eggs Safe at Home

Reported by Mr. Arthur YAU, Scientific Officer,
Risk Communication Section, Centre for Food Safety

Eggs are a popular food ingredient, as they are tasty, nutritious, easy to prepare and often inexpensive. However, eggs are not sterile and there is an inherent risk of Salmonella contamination. How can we keep shell eggs fresh and safe at home?

When purchasing eggs, patronise reliable retailers. Check the best before date if packaged and look out for cracked or leaky eggs. Upon reaching home, put refrigerated eggs back in the refrigerator. For eggs that came unrefrigerated, they are best stored in the refrigerator, though they can be kept in a cool, dry place instead, as it can reduce the chance of bacteria multiplying. It also keeps eggs fresher for a considerably longer period of time than at room temperature.

To achieve a longer shelf life, store boxed eggs in their original package. Keeping them on the middle shelf in the main body of the refrigerator is better than at the door. This minimises temperature swings that facilitate bacterial growth every time you open your refrigerator. Once refrigerated, eggs should be kept so until use to minimise the chance of condensation, which encourages surface bacterial growth and penetration into the eggs. Eggs need not be washed in general, but can be washed if they are visibly soiled. Washed eggs should be used immediately. Discard any cracked eggs.