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Is Eating Raw Eggs Safe and Healthy?

Raw and undercooked eggs may contain Salmonella, a type of harmful bacteria (12).

This bacteria can be found on egg shells but also inside eggs (13).

Consuming contaminated eggs can cause food poisoning.

Symptoms of food poisoning include stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, fever and headache. These symptoms usually appear 6 to 48 hours after eating and may last 3 to 7 days (14).

Fortunately, the risk of an egg being contaminated is very low. One study found only 1 of every 30,000 eggs produced in the US is contaminated (15).

However, from the 1970s through the 1990s, contaminated egg shells were the most common source of Salmonella infection (16, 17, 18).

Since then, some improvements have been made in the processing of eggs, leading to fewer Salmonella cases and outbreaks.

These changes include pasteurization. This process uses heat treatment to reduce the number of bacteria and other microorganisms in foods (19).

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) considers it safe to use raw eggs if they are pasteurized.

Bottom Line:

Raw eggs may contain a type of pathogenic bacteria called Salmonella, which can cause food poisoning. However, the risk of an egg being contaminated is quite low.

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