How common is salmonella in raw eggs?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how common is salmonella in raw eggs” with an in-depth analysis of how common is the incidence of Salmonella infection from eating eggs. Moreover, we are going to discuss Salmonella and vulnerable populations along with tips to reduce the risk of Salmonella infection from raw eggs.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

How common is salmonella in raw eggs?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in every 20,000 eggs is contaminated with Salmonella.

It is worth mentioning that Salmonella bacteria cause about 1.35 million infections, 26,500 hospitalizations, and 420 deaths every year.

Health implications of eating an egg contaminated with Salmonella

Consumption of a raw egg has some potential threats associated with it and that includes Salmonella which is mostly present on the eggshell but sometimes can also be present inside the egg. 

Salmonella can cause Salmonella infection and various other health issues if consumed. 

Salmonella infection from consuming raw eggs is associated with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. 

  1. Diarrhea is an indication of the body that a certain obnoxious agent has entered. So consumption of Salmonella-laden eggs often causes diarrhea. Therefore you should drink plenty of water to compensate for the water loss that the body experiences owing to diarrhea. 
  1. Salmonella infection is characterized by abdominal pain. Abdominal pain is also accompanied by vomiting and nausea in most cases. Nausea and vomiting which is the natural defense of the body to get rid of the unwanted harmful substance that has entered the body.
  1. If you have consumed bacteria-laden raw eggs then you will experience nausea and vomiting which is the natural defense of the body to get rid of the unwanted harmful substance that has entered the body. Persistent vomiting can result in electrolyte imbalance in the body as well as it can lead to severe dehydration, dizziness, flushed skin, and weakness. It is advised to drink plenty of water to save the body from dehydration as severe dehydration can even lead to shock.
  1. Consuming a raw egg can also raise your body temperature and you can experience fever which is the natural defense mechanism of your body and is the indicator that something is off with your body.

It is worth mentioning that according to the FDA, the symptoms of Salmonella infection appear 12 to 72 hours after the consumption of the contaminated food.

Salmonella and vulnerable populations

Certain vulnerable populations are at a higher risk of contracting serious Salmonella infection and therefore they should refrain from eating raw or bad eggs. They are

  1. Elderly people especially those that are above the age of 65
  1. Children that are aged under 5 as their immune system is weak as compared to the adults
  1. Pregnant women
  1. Immunocompromised people have a very weak immune system and are already suffering from diseases like HIV or people that have recently got a transplant or have gone through surgery.

How does Salmonella attack the body?

The bacteria pass through the interior lining of the small intestines and into its middle layer, causing inflammation. Prolonged infection of salmonella can spread to the bloodstream and other organs, increasing disease length and severity.

How can Salmonella present in raw eggs cause death?

In severe cases, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream, and then to other body sites, and can cause death, unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. In otherwise healthy adults, the symptoms can be mild.

How to reduce the chances of getting Salmonella infection from eggs?

You should consider the following tips while buying and storing eggs to reduce the chances of Salmonella infections to some extent.

  1. Do not buy eggs that have cracks in them.
  1. It is better to buy pasteurized eggs and egg products.
  1. The eggs should be refrigerated promptly at about 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. Cook egg dishes till they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit or above.
  1. Make sure that the foods that contain raw or lightly cooked eggs such as tiramisu, hollandaise sauce, etc. should be made using pasteurized eggs.
  1. Refrigerate the cooked eggs or the foods containing eggs promptly. Never leave cooked eggs or products containing eggs for more than 2 hours at room temperature (1 hour if the outside temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit or above).
  1. Wash hands, the utensils, and the kitchen counter that comes in contact with raw eggs.
  1. Do not taste or eat any uncooked dough or batter containing raw eggs, such as cookie dough or cake mix. Before consuming, bake uncooked dough and batter.

You can read raw eggs vs cooked eggs here.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “how common is salmonella in raw eggs” with an in-depth analysis of how common is the incidence of Salmonella infection from eating eggs. Moreover, we discussed Salmonella and vulnerable populations along with tips to reduce the risk of Salmonella infection from raw eggs.

Citations

https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/communication/salmonella-and-eggs.html
https://extension.umn.edu/preserving-and-preparing/handling-eggs-prevent-salmonella#:~:text=The%20Centers%20for%20Disease%20Control,eggs%20are%20contaminated%20with%20Salmonella.
https://slate.com/technology/2014/03/salmonella-and-raw-eggs-how-ive-eaten-tons-of-cookie-dough-and-never-gotten-sick.html
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/eating-raw-eggs

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.