Welcome to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service Food Safety
at home podcast series. These podcasts were designed with
you in mind - the consumer - who purchases and prepares meat, poultry
and processed meat, egg products for your family and friends.
Each episode will bring you a different food safety topic ranging
from safe storage, handling, and preparation of meat, poultry and
processed egg products to the importance of keeping foods safe during
a power outage.
So sit back, turn up the volume and listen in.
Welcome to “Food Safety at Home.” I’m Kathy Bernard with the
Food Safety and Inspection Service. My guest today is Nadine
Shaw from FSIS’ Food Safety Education Staff. Today’s topic is
egg safety. Let’s learn about buying, handling and storing eggs
Many Americans will soon be celebrating spring holidays by
sharing traditional meals with family and friends. Included in
many meals are hard-cooked eggs. Nadine, what can you tell us
about handling eggs?
Let’s start from the beginning, purchasing the eggs. Purchase
eggs from the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Choose
eggs with clean un-cracked shells and take notice of the
“sell-buy” date stamped on the carton.
Are eggs safe to eat after the sell-buy dates?
Yes. You have up to five weeks to use the eggs after you
purchase them as long as they’re refrigerated at forty degrees
Fahrenheit or below and handled safely. Most people don’t
understand that after the date, the eggs are still safe and can
That’s good information; I usually go by the date on the carton.
Actually, let me give you a few additional tips;
- Refrigerate the eggs right away after returning home
from the store.
- Make sure you leave eggs in their original carton,
- Store eggs in the coldest part of the refrigerator, not
in the door. With the opening and closing of the
refrigerator door the temperature could fluctuate too much.
Does the “two hour rule” apply to eggs?
Yes, it sure does. If eggs are out of the refrigerator for
longer than two hours, they must be thrown away. Which brings me
to my next point: some people like to dye eggs during the
Hmmm, how do you do that safely?
Before you start, there are four simple steps to keep in mind.
- Clean: Wash your hands with soap and warm water before
- Separate: Always keep raw eggs apart from cooked or
ready- to-eat food.
- Cook: Carefully follow the cooking time for hard-cooked
eggs to ensure the yolk and white of the egg are firm.
- Chill: Eggs must be refrigerated within two hours of
purchase or cooking.
What about dyeing the eggs?
If you plan to eat the eggs you dye and decorate, always use
food-grade dye and prepare the eggs with care to prevent
cracking the shells. If the shells crack, bacteria could
contaminate the inside.
Can you use these same eggs for the spring egg hunt?
Yes, if you’re planning an egg hunt, one suggestion is to make
two sets of eggs - one for eating and another for dyeing.
Remember the two hour rule we just discussed, and make sure the
“found” eggs are back in the refrigerator within two hours. The
last option would be to use plastic eggs for egg hunts.
How long can you keep the dyed eggs in the refrigerator?
Only about a week you see, even though fresh eggs are good in
the refrigerator for up to five weeks, once you hard-cook an
egg, the protective coating is washed away leaving the pores in
the shell open for bacteria. This is why hard-cooked eggs should
be used within one week of cooking.
If you follow this advice, you’ll have a safe spring
Thanks Nadine for sharing all this valuable information on
handling eggs safely.
You’re welcome. Enjoy your time with family and friends, and
remember to follow the four simple steps to “be food safe.”
You can find this information and more, by visiting
www.fsis.usda.gov. Or visit our virtual representative “Ask
Karen” at askkaren.gov.
Consumers may also call our toll-free USDA Meat & Poultry
Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline. That’s 1-888-674-6854.
That’s it for this week. I’m Kathy Bernard. Thanks for joining
us for this episode of “Food Safety at Home.”
And remember “Be Food Safe.”
Well, that's all for this time. Thanks for joining us today
for another episode of food safety at home!
For answers to your food safety questions call USDA's toll-free
Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline. That's 1-888-674-6854.
You can also get answers to food safety questions online from our
virtual representative "Ask Karen" at
Let us know what you think of this podcast by sending your comments
Thanks for tuning in.
March 24, 2010