What are the chances of getting Salmonella from raw eggs?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “What are the chances of getting Salmonella from raw eggs?”. We will further elaborate on some ways to reduce the risk of getting Salmonella from raw eggs. 

What are the chances of getting Salmonella from raw eggs?

There are high chances of getting Salmonella from raw eggs. It has been estimated by the CDC that 1 in every 20,000 eggs are infected with Salmonella. In the U.S. alone, Salmonella is the cause of almost 30 casualties each year.

What are the symptoms of Salmonella infection?

Raw eggs can be potentially harmful if they have Salmonella. You will usually experience symptoms, such as: 

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea (sometimes bloody)
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Shivering
  • Loss of appetite 

It may take 1-3 days to contract a Salmonella infection after eating contaminated eggs. However, you can feel unhealthy anywhere between 20 mins to six weeks after you have consumed raw eggs. In extreme cases, you can experience chronic, intense, fatal conditions from ingesting foodborne bacteria. 

Symptoms generally last for 2 to 7 days, though diarrhoea could persist for about 10 days and it may take months until your intestine starts to work normally again. If you experience any of the above symptoms for over 2 days, you should consult a doctor for proper treatment.

Generally, the bacteria is killed when the eggs are cooked properly. If you are cooking a recipe that demands raw eggs, be sure to use eggs that have been pasteurised to kill Salmonella.

Who is at risk of Salmonellosis?

People who have weakened immune systems, including children, pregnant women, and elderly people, are at risk of getting sick from Salmonella. Hence, they should not consume foods having raw eggs.

Although eggs are rich in nutrients and are an important part of a balanced diet of children, pregnant women, they should always be cooked thoroughly to remove any risk of Salmonella.

How does Salmonella infect eggs?

Salmonella can be residing in whole intact eggs. It can cause contamination in the eggs either externally– by entering through the eggshell, or internally– if the hen already had Salmonella, and the bacteria entered into the egg before the formation of the eggshell.

How to lower the risk of Salmonella infection?

As per the recommendations of the CDC, you can lower the risk of Salmonella infection by following ways:

  • Buy pasteurised eggs and egg products
  • Only buy refrigerated eggs from the grocery store
  • Store eggs in a refrigerator in your home. Keeping eggs at room temperature may cause harmful bacteria to multiply rapidly.
  • Discard if you see any crack or dirt on eggs.
  • Properly clean your hands and utensils that have touched raw eggs.
  • Other than this, one of the most obvious ways to reduce the risk of Salmonella infection is to consume properly cooked eggs.

How to store eggs?

Store the eggs in the refrigerator set at 40℉ or low. 

Do not take them out of their package and store them inside the fridge, not in the door, as the fridge door is the warmest place of the fridge.

Do not wash eggs as it will remove the protective mineral oil coating and boost the potential for Salmonella on the shell to penetrate the egg.

Use eggs between 4-5 weeks from the day you have kept them in the fridge. The “sell-by” date will usually go past during that period, but the eggs will be safe to consume.

Do not take eggs out of the fridge unless necessary. If eggs are kept at room temperature for over two hours, discard them.

How do you safely cook eggs?

Before you start to cook eggs, clean your hands, utensils, equipment and countertops with warm, soapy water and clean again after handling the eggs.

Hard-cooked eggs must be safe for every person to consume. The AEB in the U.S. advises frying, scrambling, boiling or simmering eggs until both the egg yolk and the egg whites are firm. 

  • You must cook fried eggs for two to three mins on each side and for four mins in a covered pan.
  • You must cook scrambled eggs until they get firm all over.
  • You must steam hard-cooked eggs with shells in a steamer basket of boiling water and steam for twelve to seventeen mins. They should then be cooled under tap water.
  • Poached eggs must be cooked for five mins over boiling water.
  • Soft-cooked eggs must be cooked with their shell in boiling water for seven mins
  • Egg dishes like frittatas and casseroles are safe if they are cooked at an internal temperature of 160℉.

Conclusion 

In this brief guide, we have provided an answer to the question, “What are the chances of getting Salmonella from raw eggs?”. We have further elaborated on some ways to reduce the risk of getting Salmonella from raw eggs. 

References 

https://extension.umn.edu/preserving-and-preparing/handling-eggs-prevent-Salmonella
https://www.samitivejhospitals.com/article/detail/raw-eggs-and-the-risk-of-Salmonella

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.