WASHINGTON, April 7 (UPI) -- Eggs with clean, un-cracked shells may occasionally contain the bacteria Salmonella that can cause an intestinal infection, U.S. health officials said.
Officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration estimated 142,000 illnesses are caused each year by consumption of eggs contaminated with Salmonella.
The FDA has put regulations in place to help prevent contamination of eggs on the farm and during shipping and storage, but consumers play a key role in preventing illness associated with eggs.
The FDA recommends to:
-- Buy eggs only if sold from a refrigerator or refrigerated case.
-- Open the carton and make sure that the eggs are clean and the shells are not cracked.
-- Refrigerate promptly.
-- Store eggs in their original carton and use them within three weeks for best quality.
-- Wash hands, utensils, equipment, and work surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after they come in contact with eggs and egg-containing foods.
-- Cook eggs until both the yolk and the white are firm. Scrambled eggs should not be runny.
-- Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 160 degrees F.
-- For recipes that call for eggs that are raw or undercooked when the dish is served -- Caesar salad dressing and homemade ice cream -- use either shell eggs that have been treated to destroy Salmonella, by pasteurization or another approved method, or pasteurized egg products.
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