Article

All About Eggs



Eggs are both nutritious and safe to eat. Eggs are also very convenient and versatile – they can be prepared and enjoyed in many different ways. Here we’ll explain how you can include eggs as part of your healthy food choices.

Nutrition spotlight

Egg yolks have protein, Vitamins A, D, E and B12, riboflavin, selenium and folate. Egg whites also have protein. One egg has about 5 g of fat. Some eggs have omega-3 fatty acids, which may help protect against heart disease.

Canada’s Food Guide recommends 2-3 servings of Meat and Alternatives every day for adults. Two eggs are equal to one serving from the Meat and Alternatives food group.  

Do you have questions about eggs and cholesterol? Read this article to learn more.

Buying local eggs

The eggs you buy at the grocery store are produced from a local farm in Ontario. It only takes 3-7 days for eggs to travel from the farm to the store. That’s fresh! When you buy eggs, you are supporting farming families. That helps to ensure we’ll all have a steady supply of locally produced eggs in the future too. 

Eggs are safe to eat

Recently, there has been some concern with the avian flu virus or “bird flu”. While this virus spreads easily among poultry flocks, the virus is not as easily transferred from birds to humans. There is no evidence to suggest that consuming thoroughly cooked eggs could transmit the avian flu to humans. Proper handling, storage and preparation of eggs will reduce the risk of this virus. The Canadian government monitors the safety of poultry products.

Keep food safety in mind: storing, handling & preparing eggs

Storing

Store eggs in their carton on a shelf in the main part of the fridge. The fridge door is not cold enough to keep your eggs fresh and safe to eat. Use eggs by the best before date on the package. Raw or cooked eggs should not be out of the refrigerator for more than two hours. Make sure eggs are clean and without cracks before using them. If an egg is cracked, use it as soon as you can and in a dish that will be cooked or baked thoroughly. 

Separated egg whites and yolks can be stored up to two to four days in the refrigerator.

Raw eggs can be frozen whole or separated for up to four months. Before freezing, beat whole eggs together and pour them into a freezer-safe container. Do not freeze eggs in their shell. Seal tightly and label with the number of eggs and the date. 

Handling

Foodborne illness from bacteria contamination can happen when raw eggs come into contact with foods, surfaces, utensils and our hands. Be sure to wash your hands, cooking surfaces and utensils immediately before and after preparation. Use a diluted bleach solution (1 teaspoon [5ml] of bleach per 4 cups [1L] of water) as an extra safety measure to clean work surfaces and utensils.

Preparing

Raw or lightly cooked eggs may contain Salmonella or other harmful bacteria. The risk of contamination from raw or undercooked eggs is very small if eggs are handled and stored at proper temperatures. However, very young children, the elderly, the immune-compromised and pregnant women should be extra careful and not consume raw or undercooked eggs. 

To completely reduce the risk of bacteria, it is recommended that eggs be cooked until both the yolk and white are firm and not runny. Fried eggs should be cooked on both sides and scrambled eggs should be cooked until firm all the way through. Eggs should be heated to 71ºC (160ºF) or above. Use a food thermometer to tell you when your dish is cooked to the right temperature. 

For raw or lightly cooked egg dishes, you can use pasteurized liquid eggs as a safer option. Pasteurization kills any harmful bacteria that might be found in raw eggs. You can find pasteurized eggs at your local grocery store either as whole eggs or just the egg whites.

Refrigerate any leftovers right away and avoid saving any foods prepared with raw eggs. Prepared egg dishes can be stored up to 3-4 days. Hard-cooked (boiled) eggs can be stored up to 1 week.

Adding eggs to your diet is convenient and easy!

Try some of these easy and convenient ways to add eggs to your diet:

  • Add chopped or sliced hard boiled eggs to sandwiches, salads, casseroles, or pizza.
  • Add a beaten egg to a skillet with hot cooked rice and chopped vegetables for a tasty stir-fry. Cook until egg is set.
  • Add 1-2 eggs to ground meat or poultry when preparing hamburger patties and meatloaf.
  • Eggs make great snacks. Top crackers or a baguette with sliced hard boiled eggs and cheese, salsa, or cucumber.
  • Use egg crepes or omelettes as pizza crusts.
  • Place peeled, whole hard boiled eggs in the middle of a meatloaf before cooking.

Looking for other ways to incorporate eggs into your diet? Try some of these great egg recipes:

Last Update – November 30, 2017

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If you have questions about what you've read here, or other questions about food, nutrition or healthy eating, click to email our Registered Dietitians or call 1-877-510-5102.