Cracking eggs? Wash your hands to avoid food poisoning, researchers say

Research Triangle Park, NC – Many adults fail to wash their hands with soap and water after breaking open eggs, which can lead to food poisoning, according to a study from research institute RTI International.

Researchers surveyed 1,500 grocery shoppers about what they do with eggs. Generally, consumers abide by two of the four food safety messages – “separate” and “chill” – but they can improve their cleaning and cooking practices to avoid salmonella infections, the study states.

Most participants said they avoid eating raw eggs or food made with raw or undercooked eggs, and most buy shelled eggs from a grocery store and keep them refrigerated for five weeks or less, following recommendations.

However, only 48 percent of adults wash their hands with soap and water after breaking open eggs. More than 25 percent said they ate raw, homemade cookie dough or cake batter within the last year, a “potentially unsafe practice,” a press release states. More than half of participants who eat fried or poached eggs said they cook them so they’re soft or runny.

The researchers advise consumers to always wash their hands after cracking eggs, cook eggs until yolks and whites are solid, and use a food thermometer.

The study was published in the July issue of the Journal of Food Protection.