Safe storage and handling for fresh shell eggs

Proper refrigeration, cooking and handling should prevent most egg safety problems. People can enjoy eggs and dishes containing eggs if these safe handling guidelines are followed:

Don’t Eat Raw Eggs: This includes “health food” milk shakes with raw eggs, Caesar salad, hollandaise sauce and any other foods like homemade mayonnaise, ice cream or eggnog made from recipes in which the raw egg ingredients are not cooked. These egg-based recipes should be updated to start with a cooked base or so that commercially prepared pasteurized eggs or egg substitutes are used. Use a thermometer and make sure the temperature of the cooked base reaches 160°F.

Safe Storage of Eggs at Home: Take eggs straight home and store them immediately in the refrigerator at 40°F or slightly below. Store them in the grocery carton in the coldest part of the refrigerator, not in the door. Do not wash eggs. Washing eggs could remove the protective mineral oil coating put on at the plant and could increase the potential for bacteria on the shell to enter the egg.

Use Eggs Promptly: Use raw shell eggs within three to five weeks. When fresh eggs are hard cooked, the protective coating is washed away so hard-cooked eggs should be refrigerated within two hours of cooking and used within a week. Use leftover yolks and whites within four days. If eggs crack on the way home from the store, break them into a clean container, cover tightly, and keep refrigerated for use within two days.

Freeze Eggs for Longer Storage: Eggs should not be frozen in their shells. To freeze whole eggs, beat yolks and whites together. Egg whites and yolks can also be frozen by themselves. Use frozen eggs within a year. If eggs freeze accidentally in their shells, keep them frozen until needed. Defrost them in refrigerator. Discard any with cracked shells.

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