Reporting from KlikDokter, dr. Dyan Mega Inderawati wrote, the habit of washing eggs before being stored could increase the risk of entry of Salmonella, a bacterium that causes typhoid in humans, into the body. Salmonella bacteria itself is known to be in the chicken ovaries. When removing the egg, the bacteria can be carried away and attached to the egg. The Centers for Disease Control United States estimates, about 1 in 20,000 eggs have been contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.
Naturally, eggs are protected from germs with a thin membrane lining the outer shell. This membrane that covers the pores to avoid the entry of Salmonella or other germs found in the outer layer of eggs.
When we wash the eggs, this protective film can be damaged. As a result of the damaged protective membrane is the opening of the egg pores. With the opening of pores on the egg, Salmonella located on the outer shell of the egg will be brought into the egg. The content contained in eggs is very rich in nutrients favored by these bacteria, consequently the bacteria will thrive.
When the process of cooking eggs is not perfect, these germs can be consumed by us and will cause complaints, such as fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Studies conducted by Gole VC and friends in 2014 suggest that penetration of Salmonella bacteria increased significantly in washed eggs compared with unwashed eggs.
University of Minnesota and Authority of Ireland for Food Safety are two institutions that do not recommend to wash eggs before they are stored. Different results are presented in a study conducted by Samiullah and friends in 2013, where there was no significant difference between washed eggs and unwashed eggs in terms of Salmonella penetration. Therefore, further and in-depth research is needed to ensure the relationship between these two.
How to prevent germs that may be present in eggs do not infect us?
- Store eggs in the refrigerator with temperatures below 4⁰C. Try to put it inside the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container, not on the refrigerator door. It aims to keep the temperature stable.
- Immediately dispose of eggs whose shells are damaged or broken.
- Always wash hands and appliances that come into contact with raw eggs using a cleansing soap immediately after use.
- Only the consumption of eggs is really mature. Avoid eating raw or undercooked eggs.
- Eat immediately cooked eggs in less than 2 hours.
- Immediately store eggs that have not been processed or food containing eggs in the refrigerator
- Gole VC¹, Chousalkar KK¹, Roberts JR², Sexton M³, May D⁴, Tan J⁴, Kiermeier A⁴. Effect of egg washing and correlation between eggshell characteristics and egg penetration by various Salmonella Typhimurium strains. PLoS One. 2014 Mar 12;9(3):e90987.
- Samiullah¹, Chousalkar KK, Roberts JR, Sexton M, May D, Kiermeier A. Effects of egg shell quality and washing on Salmonella Infantis penetration. Int J Food Microbiol. 2013 Jul 15;165(2):77-83.
- Egg Washing. Food Safety, Authority of Ireland.
- Food Safety: Handle Eggs Properly to Prevent Salmonella. University of Minnesota.
- Tips to Reduce Your Risk From Salmonella from Eggs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.