Protect yourself and your family by following these safe handling tips when buying, storing, preparing, and serving eggs—or foods that contain them.
You can help keep eggs safe by making wise buying decisions at the grocery store.
- Buy eggs only if sold from a refrigerator or refrigerated case.
- Open the carton and make sure that the eggs are clean and the shells are not cracked.
- Store promptly in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 40° F or below. Use a refrigerator thermometer to check.
- Store eggs in their original carton and use them within 3 weeks for best quality.
Proper storage of eggs can affect both quality and safety.
- Use hard-cooked eggs (in the shell or peeled) within 1 week after cooking.
- Use frozen eggs within 1 year. Eggs should not be frozen in their shells. To freeze whole eggs, beat yolks and whites together. Egg whites can also be frozen by themselves.
- Refrigerate leftover cooked egg dishes and use within 3 to 4 days. When refrigerating a large amount of a hot egg-containing leftover, divide it into several shallow containers so it will cool quickly.
Wash hands, utensils, equipment, and work surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after they come in contact with raw eggs and raw egg-containing foods.
- Cook eggs until both the yolk and the white are firm. Scrambled eggs should not be runny.
- Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 160° F. Use a food thermometer to be sure.
- For recipes that call for eggs that are raw or undercooked when the dish is served — like Caesar salad dressing and homemade ice cream — use either shell eggs that have been treated to destroy Salmonella, by pasteurization or another approved method, or pasteurized egg products.
Follow these serving guidelines for eggs and egg dishes.
- Serve cooked eggs (such as hard-boiled eggs and fried eggs) and egg-containing foods (such as such as quiches and soufflés) immediately after cooking. Cooked eggs and egg dishes may be refrigerated for serving later but should be thoroughly reheated to 165° F before serving.
- Never leave cooked eggs or egg dishes out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours or for more than 1 hour when temperatures are above 90° F. Bacteria that can cause illness grow quickly at warm temperatures (between 40° F and 140° F).
- For party planning, keep hot egg dishes hot and cold egg dishes cold:
- Keep egg dishes refrigerated until time to serve.
- Serve small platters of reheated egg dishes at a time to ensure the food stays at the proper temperature. Replenish as needed, or at least every 2 hours.
- Keep cold egg dishes on ice if they are going to stay out longer than 2 hours.