If you’re less excited about eggs lately because of the massive multistate recall, you’re not alone. So far, approximately 1,470 salmonella poisonings have been linked to the contaminated eggs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And reports show worried consumers are changing their buying and eating habits, opting for eggs sold at local farmer’s markets and shying away from runny yolks.
Salmonella enteritidis is a serious illness, marked by fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea beginning 12 to 72 hours after consuming contaminated food; symptoms can last four to seven days. Most people recover without antibiotic treatment, but some become so ill they require hospitalization. The elderly, infants, and people with compromised immune systems are more susceptible to severe illness.
The good news is you don’t have to give up eggs altogether. Eggs are packed with protein and are a good source of vitamin D and choline, a nutrient recently linked to a reduced risk of birth defects and possibly breast cancer. You can reduce your risk of getting sick from eggs by following the CDC’s safety tips:
- Don’t eat recalled eggs. They might still be in grocery stores, restaurants, and people’s homes. Consumers who have recalled eggs should discard them or return them to their retailer for a refund. A searchable database of products affected by the recall is available to consumers.
- Keep eggs refrigerated at or under 45° F (≤7° C) at all times.
- Discard cracked or dirty eggs.
- Wash hands, cooking utensils, and food preparation surfaces with soap and water after contact with raw eggs.
- Eggs should be cooked until both the white and the yolk are firm, and eaten promptly after cooking.
- Do not keep eggs warm or at room temperature for more than two hours.
- Refrigerate unused or leftover egg-containing foods promptly.
- Avoid eating raw eggs.
- Avoid restaurant dishes made with raw or undercooked, unpasteurized eggs. Restaurants should use pasteurized eggs in any recipe (such as Hollandaise sauce or Caesar salad dressing) that calls for raw eggs.
- Individuals who think they might have become ill from eating recalled eggs should consult their health-care provider.
—Ginger Skinner, Web associate editor
Get more egg safety tips from a staffer who swears by his home-grown eggs. And we'd like to hear from you: How has the egg recall affected you? Are you buying fewer eggs? Opting for organic? Avoiding runny yolks?