Canadians Reminded Of Egg Safety
Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency would like to remind Canadians of the importance of proper handling and preparation of eggs in order to prevent foodborne illness.
Eggs can occasionally be contaminated with Salmonella or other microorganisms that can make you sick. It is also possible to contaminate eggs with bacteria from other foods. You can reduce your risk of contracting foodborne illness from eggs by following a few food safety tips.
Shop carefully: Choose only refrigerated eggs with clean and uncracked shells. Check the "best before" date on the package.
Keep eggs cold: Eggs should be refrigerated within two hours of purchase and should be placed in the coldest section of the refrigerator in their original carton. The carton helps protect the eggs from damage and odours. Don't crack the shell of an egg until you want to use it. Hard boiled eggs and pickled eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. If you include eggs in your lunch, make sure to include an icepack to keep the eggs cold.
Keep clean: Remember to wash your hands and other utensils, like cutting boards, counters and knives, carefully with soap and warm water before and after handling raw eggs. This helps avoid potential cross contamination and prevent the spread of foodborne illness related to eggs.
Cook thoroughly: Eggs and egg-based foods should be cooked thoroughly to ensure they are safe to eat. Serve egg dishes immediately after cooking and store any leftovers in containers and refrigerate them within two hours. Uncooked cookie dough and batters made with raw eggs can contain Salmonella and should not be tasted or eaten until they are cooked thoroughly. You should use pasteurized egg products instead of raw eggs when you are preparing uncooked homemade foods that use raw eggs, such as icing or Caesar salad dressing.
Easter eggs: Decorating hard-boiled eggs at Easter is a popular activity. Decorated eggs that have been left out on display are not safe to eat. If you want to eat the eggs you decorate you should hard boil them thoroughly and then cool them (either by immersing them in cold tap water or on the counter until they have reached room temperature) before placing them in the fridge. Use a non-toxic colouring dye on eggs. Be sure that eggs are kept cold before and after dyeing. Between dyeing and cooling, they should be out of the refrigerator for no more than two hours in total. Coloured eggs can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
It is estimated that there are approximately 11 million cases of food-related illnesses in Canada every year. Many of these illnesses could be prevented by following proper food handling and preparation techniques.