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Avoid Salmonellosis

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Safe Handling of Eggs

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Learn more about eggs in our "Fun & Facts" section, including how to hard boil an egg easily.

Avoiding Salmonellosis

Unless you’ve been living in the dark ages, you’ve likely heard of salmonella poisoning or salmonellosis. You probably know that it is a very serious illness and is linked to raw eggs and uncooked meat but if you’re a true egg lover then you should learn more about salmonella and how to protect yourself and your family.

First and foremost, let’s get the facts straight. If an egg has been improperly handled and contains salmonella bacteria, then you may get salmonellosis, a rare food borne illness, which causes abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, chills, fever and/or headache within 6 to 72 hours after eating the infected item. Although these symptoms sound awful, they typically only last a day or two in healthy people and don’t cause serious complications. However, if you’re a young child, pregnant woman, senior citizen or a person with an immune system disorder it can cause other complications.

So, what is an egg lover to do? In the past, people wrongly believed that they could safely fry their eggs and enjoy delicacies like sunny side up egg specials and avoid salmonella. However, researchers now believe that frying doesn’t exactly kill the salmonella bacteria. Instead, to kill it, eggs and other products have to be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit which allows the egg white and yolk to cook thoroughly.

In addition, there are several other things that you can do to further protect yourself and your family members:

1. Throw cracked eggs out. If you notice that an egg has cracked in the carton, throw the entire carton away. Don’t take any chances as salmonella can quickly infect the entire carton. I try to check the carton before I but it in the store.

2. Evaluate egg shells. You should always feel the shell and ensure that it is clean and feels normal. Bacteria have a tendency to accumulate on shells and can make an egg feel or appear slimy.

3. If you’re really concerned, use pasteurized eggs in your food dishes as these are less risky than their shell counterparts to contain salmonella.

4. Clean areas thoroughly with hot water and antibacterial soap to lessen risk of infection.

In conclusion, salmonellosis can be a very serious illness but with proper cooking, prevention and cleanliness, you can avoid this food borne illness and enjoy the benefits of eating eggs!

 
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