Does Freezing Eggs Kill Salmonella? (Facts & Tips)

Does Freezing Eggs Kill Salmonella
Foods Questions

Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can cause diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. It’s usually found in raw eggs due to the bacteria being able to penetrate the eggshell.

If you are like me, you might also wonder whether freezing eggs kill pathogens.

So, does freezing eggs kill salmonella?

Freezing an egg does not kill Salmonella or other types of bacteria present in it so there is no guarantee that freezing will make them safe to eat. If you want to keep your fresh eggs longer than 3 weeks without refrigeration, then store them at 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit rather than freezing them.

What temperature kills salmonella in eggs?

If you want to learn what temperature kills salmonella in eggs, then the answer is that it depends.  

For instance, if you are talking about killing Salmonella enteritidis which is most commonly found in chicken and rarely spread through eggs, then you have to cook them at 145 °F (63 °C) for 3 minutes or pasteurize them. 

How long does it take to kill salmonella in eggs?

If you want to know how long it takes for killing salmonella in eggs, then you need to follow this procedure: 

1. Heat up water so that it is at least 2-3 inches deep.  The depth of the water should be equal to or greater than that of an egg’s diameter;

2. Place the eggs gently in the water;

3. Allow them to be heated for 60 seconds at a minimum temperature of 160°F (71°C); and,

4. Check to make sure that the heat continues for the entire time that you leave the eggs in the water. 

How do you kill salmonella in eggs without cooking them?

Killing Salmonella in eggs without cooking them is a bit tricky.

If the egg is contaminated with fecal matter, or if it’s cracked then you have to throw away those eggs; otherwise, follow this procedure:

Step by step killing salmonella without cooking eggs:

1. If the infected egg has only a little crack then just get rid of the cracked part after killing salmonella in your egg via other methods. If it’s contaminated with feces or is dirty then wash it carefully and put it into an ice bath;

2. Submerge the infected egg in ice water;

3. Change the water every couple of hours, so that it stays below 41ºF (5 ºC);

4. Keep doing this until you’re sure killing salmonella in your egg without cooking is fairly safe; and,

5. Once done, put it back into the refrigerator right away to keep it from getting infected again by pathogens. 

Can you get salmonella from frozen eggs?

Salmonella in frozen eggs is a big concern for many people.

If salmonella is present in the shell, then salmonella in eggs can easily be transferred to other foods during defrosting; as such, it is important that you cook frozen eggs thoroughly before eating them.

Also, salmonella in eggs can also be spread when the eggs are consumed raw or undercooked.

If salmonella is present even after freezing, then it will most likely survive thawing. Thus, eggs should never be ingested without cooking them first.  Be aware that salmonella is killed at 165ºF (74ºC).

Should the egg be kept in the refrigerator?

The egg should not be kept in the refrigerator. Eggs should always be stored at room temperature because of the fact that refrigerators are too cold and might cause condensation to form on the shell of an egg thereby allowing contaminants like salmonella or E. coli to enter the egg.  

 You should also not wash eggs before storing them because it will contaminate the egg with salmonella.

Eggs should be kept in a clean, cool environment to maintain their freshness and should never be stored on top of other foods that have strong odors such as onions or garlic.

You should always check your eggs for cracks and should throw away any cracked eggs you might find so that they do not get contaminated by bacteria like salmonella.

Other factors to consider while storing eggs

It is preferable to consume your fresh eggs within 3 weeks after purchase but if this cannot happen then you can store them at temperatures between 45- 50 degrees Fahrenheit rather than freezing them. 

It should also be noted that the eggs should always be stored in their original carton to prevent bacterial growth and should never be washed before refrigeration. 

How can you tell if an egg has salmonella?

If you suspect that an egg has salmonella, then you can follow this procedure to detect and know if there is salmonella in your egg or not:

1. Place the suspected eggs into a container filled with water; and,

2. Allow it to stand for about 10 minutes so that the bacteria get distributed uniformly inside the shell of your egg;

3. Gently place these eggs into ice water; 

4.If it looks abnormal (for e.g. shells are unusually thin), smells bad then throw them away right away;

5. If the egg floats on top of the ice water, then that means it has salmonella inside it and must be thrown away;

6. If however, your eggs are healthy (like fresh), they will sink to the bottom of the container.

Does cooking eggs kill salmonella?

Yes, cooking kills salmonella. If your egg has salmonella in it, cooking will kill the bacteria and make it safe to eat again.

The cooking temperature that kills E. coli is 160 °F (71 °C).  This cooking temperature is also effective against salmonella.

But cooking eggs that have salmonella may not be enough to get rid of all the bacteria.

Final Thoughts

Freezing eggs is a safe way to preserve them for use at a later date. But it is important to note that freezing does not kill Salmonella. Freezing can only help slow its growth.

Eggs should be cooked before eating as they are more likely to contain bacteria if consumed raw or undercooked.

All cooking processes like cooking, baking, poaching, and frying kill the bacteria present in eggs.

The temperatures at which cooking kills salmonella are as follows:

Boiling water – 212°F (100°C) = 60 minutes of cooking time

Stir-frying – 320°F (160°C) = 1-minute cooking time

Deep-frying – 350°F (175°C) = 30 seconds cooking time

Reference

USDA: Food Safety and Inspection Service