When properly handled, raw and lightly cooked Canada Grade ‘A’ eggs are not a concern for healthy individuals. There is, however, a high-risk segment of the population that should avoid eating eggs that are not thoroughly cooked. This includes: people who are suffering from a disease or whose immune system is compromised, very young children, the elderly and pregnant women.
While farmers, graders and retailers work to implement safe handling standards at all levels, consumers also have an important role to play to ensure proper handling practices are followed:
- Purchase only Grade ‘A’ eggs with clean, uncracked shells that have been stored under refrigeration.
- When buying eggs, check the ‘Best Before’ date (found either on the carton or stamped on the eggs). This ‘Best Before’ date represents the length of time the eggs will maintain their Grade ‘A’ quality (which includes small air cell, firm yolk, thick white, clean, uncracked shells). If eggs are going to be used after that date, they should be thoroughly cooked.
- For optimal freshness, store eggs in their original carton on the middle shelf in the refrigerator (ideally at 4°C).
- Wash hands with warm, soapy water before and after food preparation.
- Serve eggs and egg-rich foods immediately after cooking or refrigerate and serve within three to four days.