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Egg Safety: Take egg-xtra care

The humble egg is a delicious and versatile kitchen staple. From buttery scrambled eggs, hearty quiches, Christmas pavs and birthday cakes, eggs are key to so many recipes. However, improper handling, storage, and cooking of eggs can pose risks of foodborne illnesses. Eggs are essential in Aged Care to help fight malnutrition and too in Childcare Centres, to support those growing little bodies. However, if we stop and think about where an egg comes from, we quickly realise the importance of food safety around this handy ingredient. Therefore, extra care is required when storing, preparing, and serving eggs or food containing eggs. If this is eggs-actly what you were looking for – keep reading! Our Food Safety team explains how to be safe around eggs. 


In Australia, where food safety regulations are stringent, it's essential to adhere to proper practices when dealing with eggs and egg dishes. Whether you're a home cook or a professional chef, following these guidelines will help ensure the safety of your meals and the well-being of those who consume them.


Never buy or use cracked, damaged or dirty eggs

Do not buy cracked or dirty eggs. Bacteria on the outside of the egg may enter the egg through the cracks – some cracks may be too fine to see. Once bacteria is inside the egg, it can grow quickly and increase the risk of illness.


Food Safety eggs - take extra care. Never buy or use cracked eggs

Remember where eggs come from, visible dirt could be faeces, feathers, or dirt from their environment. Don’t risk it, check the carton before purchasing or if you find a dirty or cracked eggs once in the kitchen, throw it out. It's better to err on the side of caution and dispose of any eggs that show signs of damage or contamination.  


Be even more careful with larger eggs. Large eggs have thinner shells and are therefore more likely to crack and let in bacteria too.


Keep your eggs in the egg carton

Store eggs in the fridge in the carton.  This will not only keep them fresh longer, but you’ll also be able to check the ‘best before’ date on the box. The egg carton/box prevents condensation forming on the eggshells too. This is important, as eggshell become porous when wet meaning it’s easier for the bacteria from the shell to get inside the egg.


For home cooks, the trendy clear plastic eggs containers look stylish but are not practical. Not only is moving them increasing the risk of damaging them, but there’s also no ‘best before’ date and the plastic is not preventing the condensation. Avoid storing eggs in the refrigerator door, as the temperature fluctuates more there.


Additionally, avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw eggs separate from other foods, especially those that won't be cooked before consumption.


Separating eggs

It is best not to use the eggshell to separate the egg white from the egg yolk. Instead, use a sanitised egg separator to minimise cross contamination. If Salmonella is present on the eggshell, it could be transferred while separating the white from the yolk if using the shell. By using a clean egg separator, it won’t contaminate the egg yolk or egg white.


Removing broken shell from your egg whites

It’s happened to us all, a fragment of eggshell has fallen into the cracked egg. If this is case, remove the shell pieces with a clean spoon or fork. There are other common methods, but these are not recommended such as using the eggshell to scoop out the shell pieces or to use your finger. We want to reduce the risk when preparing eggs, stick with the clean spoon or fork to fish it out. Food poisoning is never fun and can be fatal for vulnerable people in our Aged Care Homes and Childcare centres.


Is it safe to eat raw eggs?

Consuming raw eggs is not safe for vulnerable people or those with compromised immune systems - including children, pregnant women, and elderly people.


For Aged Care homes and Childcare centres consider using pasteurized eggs for dishes that call for raw or lightly cooked egg, for example homemade mayonnaise, hollandaise sauces, milkshakes/eggflips, mousses, pavlova, and tiramisu. Pasteurization involves heating eggs to a specific temperature to kill any harmful bacteria while retaining their flavour and nutritional value.


For the general population, it is generally safe to eat raw and undercooked eggs but be aware of the risk of food poisoning from salmonella.



How to tell if an egg has gone bad

The best before date on the egg carton and this is the easiest and most reliable way to check whether eggs are still ok to eat.


Another possible way to tell if an egg is bad, is by smelling it. Good eggs don’t smell at all but off smelling eggs will warn you something isn’t right. To do this, crack the egg onto a clean plate to smell it properly. Any pungency, throw away the egg and wash the plate thoroughly.

Or for a cleaner way to test an egg, do the floating test. Fresh eggs sink while bad eggs float to the top. To conduct the floating test, fill a bowl with cold tap water and place your eggs in. If they sink to the bottom and lay flat on one side, they are fresh and good to eat. Bad eggs will float because of the large air cell that forms at its base. Throw out and do not consume floating eggs.


How to tell if an egg has gone bad

More food safety tips for eggs

  • Do not wash eggs.  Egg shells are porous when wet.

  • Avoid repeatedly moving the same eggs to and from refrigerated conditions. This will cause condensation to form on the shell.

  • Wash your hands. Use soap and running water to wash your hands and dry thoroughly before and after handling eggs. This is to reduce the risk of contaminating other food when handling eggs.

  • Equipment and benches should be cleaned and sanitised after handling eggs to avoid cross-contamination of ready-to-eat foods. Use separate utensils and cutting boards for handling raw eggs and cooked foods.

  • Cook eggs until they are hot all the way through (over 75°C). Eggs served on their own are to be cooked until the whites are firm and the yolks have thickened.

  • Serve hot dishes containing eggs straightaway or cool them rapidly and keep them refrigerated until they are eaten.

  • Avoid consuming dishes that contain raw or undercooked eggs, such as raw cookie dough or homemade mayonnaise, as they can increase the risk of foodborne illness.

  • Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw eggs separate from other foods, especially those that won't be cooked before consumption


Egg Safety Poster

Download our Egg Safety Poster and create a positive food safety culture in your kitchen





Be a good egg-xample

Salmonella is the most commonly reported bacteria responsible for foodborne illness outbreaks and is usually associated with eggs and egg products. Especially within Aged Care and Childcare kitchens, we suggest erring on the side of caution when it comes to preparing eggs and to always refer to your Food Safety Program for more guidance.


By taking extra care, we can serve delicious and nutritious egg dishes to residents and children safely.  Create a positive food safe culture within your kitchen and make sure every food handler has basic food safety training. Our team of food safety experts are here to help - with audits, food safety program updates, training and so much more.


Find out more about our Food Safety Programs Aged Care and Childcare





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