Are Raw Eggs Safe to Eat or More Healthy Than Cooked Eggs?
Raw eggs are not safe to eat. The Food and Drug Administration warns against eating raw eggs or eating foods that contain them. Cooked eggs, however, can be a healthful part of your diet.
Raw eggs can contain a strain of salmonella, a harmful bacterium that can be transmitted from the hen to the egg before the shell is formed. About one in 20,000 eggs is infected, and there is no way to tell from looking at them.
Common symptoms of illness from eating raw eggs include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills, headache, muscle pains and blood in the stool.
Only buy eggs from a refrigerated case, and put them away in your refrigerator as soon as possible. When using eggs, be sure to wash your hands, any equipment you use and the counter tops that come into contact with the raw egg with hot, soapy water to prevent spread of bacteria. Cook eggs until they are firm throughout. Dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Resist the temptation to taste your cake, pie or cookie batter when you are baking it with raw eggs.
Foods to Avoid
The FDA recommends that people avoid eating foods that contain raw eggs such as Caesar salad dressing, homemade eggnog that is not cooked, mousse and meringue. Commercial versions of these items might be safe if they use pasteurized eggs. Check the labels carefully.
About 40,000 cases of salmonellosis, the illness caused by eating raw eggs or other contaminated foods, are reported each year in the United States, though the Centers for Disease Control says there might be 30 times more cases that go unreported. Children under 5 years old are five times more likely to get the illness than others. Young children, older people and those with compromised immune systems can have severe infections. About 400 people a year die from salmonellosis.