Use an egg separator to avoid contamination from the shell.
- Select clean, fresh eggs from refrigerated display cases. Don't use dirty, cracked, or leaking eggs. They may have become contaminated with harmful bacteria.
- When you arrive home from the grocery store, promptly refrigerate the eggs with the large ends up. Store them in their cartons because eggs easily absorb refrigerator odors. Fresh eggs can be refrigerated for up to five weeks after the packing date (a number stamped on the carton from one to 365 with one representing January 1 and 365 representing December 31) or about three weeks after you bring them home.
- When cracking eggs, avoid getting any eggshell in the raw eggs. Also, when separating eggs, don't pass the yolk from shell half to shell half. Instead, use an egg separator so that if bacteria is present on the shell, it won't contaminate either the yolk or the white.
- To store raw egg whites, refrigerate them in a tightly covered container for up to four days. Or, place them in a freezer container and freeze for up to one year. Although you can refrigerate unbroken raw yolks covered with water in a tightly covered container for up to two days, you should not freeze them. To freeze whole eggs, beat the whites and yolks together, place in a freezer container, and freeze up to one year. Refrigerate hard-cooked eggs in their shells for up to seven days.
- Be sure to wash your hands, utensils, and countertop after working with eggs.
- Serve hot egg dishes as soon as they're cooked. Chill leftovers promptly and reheat thoroughly before serving. Refrigerate cold egg dishes immediately.
- For more information on handling eggs safely, call the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Meat and Poultry Hotline at 800-535-4555.