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Eggs are a good source of protein, but it's important to store, handle and prepare them properly.
Eggs are a good choice as part of a healthy, balanced diet. As well as being a source of protein, they also contain vitamins and minerals. They can be part of a healthy meal that's quick and easy to make.
However, to avoid any risk of food poisoning , it's important to always buy eggs from a reputable supplier, and to ensure you store, handle and cook the eggs properly.
This advice especially applies to people in vulnerable groups, including the very young, the unwell, pregnant women and elderly people.
Eggs are a good source of:
There is no recommended limit on how many eggs people should eat.
Eggs can be enjoyed as part of a healthy, balanced diet, but it's best to cook them without adding salt or fat. For example:
Frying eggs can increase their fat content by around 50%.
To get the nutrients you need, make sure you eat as varied a diet as possible. You can learn more about healthy eating in A balanced diet.
Having high cholesterol levels in our blood increases our risk of heart disease.
Although eggs contain cholesterol, the amount of saturated fat we eat has more effect on the amount of cholesterol in our blood than the cholesterol we get from eating eggs.
If your doctor or health professional has told you to watch your cholesterol levels, your priority should be to cut down on saturated fat across your diet. You can get advice in Eat less saturated fat.
If you are eating a balanced diet, you only need to cut down on eggs if you have been told to do so by your doctor or dietitian.
Eating raw eggs, eggs with runny yolks, or any food containing raw eggs that is uncooked or only lightly cooked can cause food poisoning , especially in anyone who is in an "at risk" group. This includes:
This is because eggs may contain salmonella bacteria, which can cause serious illness.
When eating raw or lightly cooked eggs, using pasteurised eggs minimises this risk, because the pasteurisation process kills salmonella.
Pasteurisation is a heat treatment that uses high temperatures to kill bacteria. However, most eggs you can buy in the shops are not pasteurised. Pasteurised eggs often come in liquid, dried or frozen form.
If you're preparing food – especially food that won’t be cooked or will only be lightly cooked – for people who are in an "at risk" group, you can choose pasteurised eggs as the safest option.
When using unpasteurised eggs, bear in mind the importance of:
People who are not in vulnerable groups who eat soft-boiled eggs or foods containing lightly cooked eggs should not experience any health problems, but cooking eggs thoroughly is the safest option if you are concerned about food poisoning.
Foods that are made with raw eggs and then not cooked, or only lightly cooked, can cause food poisoning. This is because any bacteria in the eggs won't be killed.
Any of the following might contain raw eggs:
If you are making these foods yourself, using pasteurised eggs is the safest choice.
Most commercially produced mayonnaise, salad dressings, sauces, ice cream, desserts or ready-made icing are made with pasteurised eggs. Check the label, or contact the manufacturer if you are unclear whether the food was made with pasteurised eggs.
If you're concerned about raw egg when eating out or buying food, ask the person serving you.
Storing eggs safely helps to make sure the bacteria from the eggs and eggshells do not spread.
Here are some tips to help you store your eggs safely:
Bacteria can spread very easily from eggs to other foods, as well as to hands, utensils and worktops.
There can be bacteria on the shell as well as inside the egg, so take care when handling them.
These tips can help avoid the spread of bacteria:
Find out more about how to store food safely.
Eggs have a shelf life of 28 days (from date laid to their "best before" date). Eggs can be eaten a day or two after their "best before" date as long as they are cooked thoroughly until both yolk and white are solid, or if they are used in dishes where they will be fully cooked, such as a cake.
Cooking eggs until both the white and yolk are solid will kill any bacteria, such as salmonella.
People who are in "at-risk" groups should only eat eggs, or food containing eggs, that have been thoroughly cooked.
Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.