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Egg Safety from Hen to Consumer

When buying eggs, always open the carton and check eggs for cracks or other damage.

Eggs are very nutritious and versatile. But, they also bring a food safety risk due to Salmonella contamination. This risk can occur inside the egg and on the egg shell.

If a chicken is infected with Salmonella, it can contaminate the egg when it is formed inside the chicken. Farmers, big and small, must be vigilant to identify infected chickens and separate them from the rest of the flock. Chickens are messy, and they can pick up pathogens anywhere in their environment. Keeping coops clean is important.

Eggs are refrigerated for safety. If temperature abuse happens, that causes the egg to sweat and the porous shell will pull any contamination from outside the shell into the egg interior through osmosis.

In some locations, consumers are demanding cage-free egg production. This type of production only removes the cages. The chickens are still under one roof. The debate is ongoing whether this will be an advantage to make eggs safer.

Source: Food Safety Magazine, Dec. 2018/Jan. 2019,

Egg Safety: What You Need to Know


Keep the Egg Hunt Safe!

Easter eggsEggs are one food that has been consumed for millions of years. Roman meals often began with an egg dish and the shells were crushed to hide evil spirits. Today, the evil spirit that causes problems is Salmonella if eggs are mishandled. As Easter egg hunts are being planned, remember these egg safety tips:

  • Keep raw eggs refrigerated. After boiling and decorating, refrigerate eggs until the hunt. Only allow eggs to be out of refrigeration up to two hours.
  • If eggs get cracked and damaged during the hunt, do not eat them.
  • Another option, keep eggs for the hunt separate from other eggs. Or, use plastic eggs with fun treats for kids of all ages to enjoy.

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Making Pickled Eggs at Home

Recent low prices for eggs have enticed shoppers to stock up on eggs. One method to preserve them is by pickling.

There are no home canning directions for pickled eggs.  Pickled egg recipes are for storage in the refrigerator.  Pickled eggs should never be at room temperature except for serving time, when they should be limited to no more than 2 hours in the temperature danger zone of 40 to 140 degrees F.

For tips on pickling eggs, see

Home pickled eggs stored at room temperature have caused botulism. See for details.


New Way to Pasteurize Eggs

Out of all eggs sold in the U.S., only three percent are pasteurized. By pasteurizing eggs, this could reduce illnesses from Salmonella. Currently, egg pasteurization is done by immersing them in hot water and the process adds about $1.50 per dozen eggs. This method can lead to egg whites denaturing and coagulating.

Researchers at the USDA Agricultural Research Service have developed a new way to pasteurize eggs using radio frequency (RF) technology. This gets more heat into the yolk instead of the white. It is faster which can reduce costs. This technology is already being used to reduce pathogens in almonds, spices, wheat flour, and other foods.

Results from this research showed a reduced pathogen level by 99.999 percent. This is comparable to the current hot water treatment. The entire process takes 23 minutes, which is three times faster than the hot water treatment.



An Egg a Day May Reduce Risk of Strokes

When buying eggs, always open the carton and check eggs for cracks or other damage.

Over the years, eggs have been scrutinized for their role in the human diet. Nutrition experts have gone back and forth about the daily consumption of eggs and cardiovascular health.

In a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, they report that dietary cholesterol, which includes one egg per day, is not a concern for strokes and coronary heart disease (CHD) risks.

In a review of research up to August 2015, the researchers looked at seven studies on egg intake and stroke and seven studies on egg intake and CHD. The meta-analysis showed a statistically significant 12% lower risk of stroke. There was no association of egg intake and CHD.

Eggs are a low cost, nutrient dense food that can be beneficial in the every day diet. One egg is considered as one ounce-equivalent in the Protein Foods Group of the MyPlate guidelines.


Blood Spots in Eggs

While not very appetizing to discover when you crack open a fresh egg, blood spots are not harmful.

According to the American Egg Board, blood spots are “occasionally found on an egg yolk. These tiny spots do not indicate a fertilized egg. Instead, they are caused by the rupture of a blood vessel on the yolk surface during formation of the egg or by a similar accident in the wall of the oviduct.

Mass candling methods reveal most eggs with blood and those eggs are removed. However, even with mass scanners, it’s impossible to catch them all.”

“Both chemically and nutritionally, eggs with blood spots are fit to eat. You can remove the spot with the tip of a knife, if you wish.”


KDA Egg Grading Workshops

The Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) is hosting three egg grading workshops in June. Grading eggs adds more marketing options for poultry farmers. All workshops are free of charge.
For more information and registration, go to:KDA Egg Grading Workshops

The poultry industry contributes $112 million annually to the Kansas economy.

Classes will be held at:
Tuesday, June 7, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, June 14, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, June 21, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Are Easter Eggs Safe?

Easter eggsSometimes eggs are decorated, used as decorations, and hunted at Easter. Here are some safety tips for Easter eggs.

  • Dyeing eggs: After hard cooking eggs, dye them and return them to the refrigerator within 2 hours. If eggs are to be eaten, use a food-safe coloring. Wash your hands before and after handling eggs.
  • Hunting Eggs: Hard cooked eggs that have been lying on the ground can pick up bacteria, especially if the shells are cracked. If the shells crack, bacteria could contaminate the inside. Hide eggs in locations protected from dirt, moisture, pets, and other sources of bacteria. Hide and hunt for the eggs within 2 hours. The “found” eggs must be washed, re-refrigerated and eaten within 7 days of cooking.

Learn more about egg safety at