Food Safety: Should Egg Shells Be Washed?

I just discovered an outstanding website in Hong Kong, the Centre for Food Safety. It’s like the U.S. Center for Disease Control, except this website usually has much more relevant food safety information for us expats, as 95% of Hong Kong’s foods are imported, and mostly from China’s mainland. So we’re eating much of the same foods, and their food concerns are usually ours as well.

They have a terrific, very user-friendly monthly 4 page PDF newsletter called “Food Safety Focus”. I strongly recommend people take their time and read all of these! And another great feature is that every article is bilingual in Chinese and English, so you can show articles to your ayis and colleagues.

One interesting newsletter discussed eggs; should the shells be washed? It’s well known that the outer shells can be very dirty with fecal matter and bacteria, and many people get sick from undercooked eggs, usually from the bacteria salmonella.

However, they don’t feel that washing the egg shells would make much of a difference:

“…Shell eggs need not be washed as any process that wets the shell may facilitate the entry of microorganisms.

It is not surprising to find bacteria on egg shells since eggs can come into contact with bacteria during release and following exposure to the environment.

High bacterial count does not implicate the presence of pathogens…”

Read more by downloading the PDF file.

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