Myths and facts about eggs

Myth: Dirt on egg shells is organic and shows the eggs are natural 

Fact: Dirt may be organic but is definitely not good for you. Dirt, chicken poo and feathers sometimes contain harmful bacteria, including Salmonella. Discard dirty eggs.

Myth: Eggs stored on the benchtop make better cakes

Fact: Refrigerating eggs not only keeps them fresh but also minimises the risk of Salmonella growing. If desired, air eggs for several hours immediately prior to making a cake.

Myth: Bad eggs always smell bad

Fact: Eggs can smell and taste fine and still have Salmonella. Also, bacteria on the shell can get into ready-to eat food. Discard cracked or dirty eggs. Keep hands, utensils and surfaces clean and dry. If an egg does smell bad, don't use it.

Myth: Serve a raw egg to someone who is sick for extra protein and minerals

Fact: Never give a raw egg food to someone who is seriously ill. Salmonella poisoning is more dangerous for people who are seriously ill, children younger than two years, pregnant women and people over 70. Cook eggs until whites are completely firm and yolk begins to thicken.

Myth: Wash eggs to remove the dirt

Fact: Egg shell becomes more porous when wet, making it easier for bacteria to get inside the egg. Discard dirty eggs, never wash them.

Myth: Raw eggs are the same risk as cooked eggs

Fact: Uncooked food that contains raw egg, such as hollandaise sauce, egg mayonnaise, custard and so on, are a higher risk of food poisoning than thoroughly cooked foods. Cooking kills most bugs like Salmonella. Never serve raw egg to children younger than two years, pregnant women, people over 70 or people with a serious illness.

Myth: Raw eggs have better protein

Fact: Drinking raw eggs in milkshakes or on their own is a higher risk way of consuming eggs. There is no evidence to suggest that cooking reduces protein content. In fact if you get food poisoning you'll be far less healthy than if your eggs had been cooked. Cook foods with egg until hot all the way through.

Myth: The 'Float Test' – good eggs sink, bad eggs float

Fact: There is no way of knowing whether there are bacteria in or on an egg, and Salmonella can be present whether it sinks or floats.

Myth: Eggs can make your blood cholesterol level high and should be avoided

Fact: Eggs do not need to be avoided; they are an excellent source of protein and can be regularly included in your diet. The strongest influence on our blood cholesterol levels are how much saturated and trans fat (the 'bad' fats) we eat rather than the cholesterol in foods.  Eggs are low in saturated fat, have no trans-fat and only a small amount of cholesterol. Most of the fat in eggs is the 'good' unsaturated fat that we need to be healthy.

Includes material © State of New South Wales through the NSW Food Authority, sourced from NSW Food Authority.