Skip to main content

Why egg safety

Food that is not properly handled, including eggs, can make people ill. Symptoms can include headache, fever, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting which can last days or weeks.

Most shell eggs in Australia are clean and free from bacteria but sometimes harmful bugs can be found:

  • on the egg, which is more likely if the shell is dirty with dirt, chicken poo or feathers stuck to the outside
  • inside the egg, which is more likely if the shell is cracked. Some cracks are obvious but even hairline cracks where the shell looks intact can be a problem.

If an egg is cracked or dirty throw it out.


Don't wash eggs

Egg shells become more porous when wet, making it easier for any bacteria from dirt or feathers on the shell to get inside the egg. 

Raw eggs a higher risk

Cooking kills most harmful bugs that may be present such as Salmonella. Uncooked food that contains raw egg such as hollandaise sauce, raw egg milkshakes, is a higher risk than cooked eggs. They've been linked to food poisoning when they were not handled, stored and cooked properly.

Salmonella can affect anyone but can be more dangerous for some people.

Check the date

It's important to use eggs before the recommended date on the pack.

The recommended date on the carton usually assumes you are storing eggs in the fridge. Eggs age more in a day at room temperature than in a week in the fridge.

Keeping eggs in the fridge also minimises the risk of bugs like Salmonella growing.

More about eggs: