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FDA Improves Egg Safety

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The regulation means that eggs will be safer for people to eat.

The regulation will reduce the risk that eggs from an estimated 3,300 farms that produce most of the U.S. egg supply will be contaminated with SE. As a result, an estimated 79,000 illnesses and 30 deaths will be avoided each year—that’s a reduction of nearly 60 percent in egg-related illnesses from SE.

In addition to the new safety measures being taken by industry, consumers can reduce their risk of foodborne illness by following a few simple steps:

  • Only buy eggs if they are 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 the eggs promptly after purchase.
  • Cook eggs until yolks are firm, and cook foods containing eggs thoroughly.

For more information on buying, storing, handling and cooking eggs—or foods that contain them—please see Playing it Safe With Eggs: What Consumers Need to Know.

Some Producers Exempt

The regulation does not apply to producers with fewer than 3,000 laying hens. These producers account for less than 1 percent of U.S. eggs. The regulation also does not apply to producers who sell all of their eggs directly to consumers.

Producers who treat their eggs to destroy SE, such as by in-shell pasteurization, or who process their eggs into egg products, need to comply only with the parts of the regulation addressing refrigeration and registration. FDA requires all producers who must comply with the regulation to do so between 12 and 36 months after issuance of the regulation, depending on the size of the operation.

For more information about topics for your health, visit the FDA Consumer Information Center ( 

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WebMD Public Information from the FDA

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