Can I get Salmonella from Poached Eggs? (with pictures)

Shannon Kietzman
Shannon Kietzman
Symptoms of salmonella includes abdominal cramps.
Symptoms of salmonella includes abdominal cramps.

Salmonella is an illness caused by a bacterium called Salmonella enteritidis, which can be found inside eggs. When a raw or undercooked egg containing the bacteria is ingested, it can cause serious illness that can lead to death in individuals with a compromised immune system. Symptoms of a salmonella infection include abdominal cramps, fever, and diarrhea. These symptoms typically appear in the first 12 to 72 hours after consuming a contaminated egg and generally last anywhere from four to seven days, with most people recovering without the need for antibiotic treatment. If severe diarrhea is present, however, the person may require hospitalization due to dehydration.

Salmonella symptoms include fever.
Salmonella symptoms include fever.

Salmonella contaminates an egg when the egg is passed through the hen’s ovaries. The hen usually appears healthy, giving the farmer no reason to believe it is carrying salmonella. Although eggs are carefully cleaned and inspected, it is still possible for an egg contaminated with salmonella to be sold in the grocery store.

Any food that contains eggs presents a risk of salmonella infection. This is particularly true if the eggs are undercooked or if the yolk is left runny. Therefore, there is a chance of getting salmonella from eating poached eggs.

In the U.S., shelled eggs are not typically pasteurized and when eaten raw can cause salmonella poisoning.
In the U.S., shelled eggs are not typically pasteurized and when eaten raw can cause salmonella poisoning.

Fortunately, there are many steps that can be taken to prevent contracting salmonella from a poached egg. The first preventative measure is to keep the egg refrigerated until it is time to poach it. If the egg is cracked or dirty in any way, throw it away and select a different egg. In addition, select only pasteurized eggs to reduce the chance of the egg being infected with salmonella in the first place.

A person affected by salmonella may require hospitalization.
A person affected by salmonella may require hospitalization.

After poaching the egg, be sure to eat it right away. Waiting to eat the egg or keeping it warm for longer than two hours before eating it increases your chances of becoming infected with salmonella. If you do not finish the egg and wish to save it for later, be sure to refrigerate it. You must also wash your hands and any cooking utensils that may have made contact with the egg while it was still raw with soap and water in order to kill off any salmonella bacteria that may be present.

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Discussion Comments

candyquilt

Salmonella gastroenteritis is awful. I too had it last year and it took a long time for me to feel well again. And it's in so many foods, eggs being a major culprit. I've started inspecting eggs closely before buying now.

burcidi

@fBoyle-- You don't have to stop eating eggs. Just make sure that they are well cooked.

Salmonella is a bacteria and can't survive in well cooked food. People usually get poisoned from under-cooked meat or eggs, or foods like mayonnaise.

You can still have poached eggs. Just make sure that the water is boiling and that the eggs are kept in the water long enough. Or you may want to switch to hard boiled eggs or scrambled eggs if you have a hard time telling whether the poached eggs are cooked all the way through.

fBoyle

I got salmonella poisoning from poached eggs last week. I ate the eggs and became ill about six hours later. It started with nausea and vomiting and then developed into diarrhea. I thought that I could handle it by myself but when the diarrhea didn't stop, I had to the hospital. They gave me an IV there to treat my dehydration and ran some tests. The results came back positive for salmonella. The doctor gave me antibiotics and sent me home after the IV was finished.

I had fatigue, nausea and a severe headache for another day. Once the antibiotics kicked in, I felt much better. I don't want to go through this ever again. I'm scared to eat eggs now.

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    • Symptoms of salmonella includes abdominal cramps.
      Symptoms of salmonella includes abdominal cramps.
    • Salmonella symptoms include fever.
      Salmonella symptoms include fever.
    • In the U.S., shelled eggs are not typically pasteurized and when eaten raw can cause salmonella poisoning.
      In the U.S., shelled eggs are not typically pasteurized and when eaten raw can cause salmonella poisoning.
    • A person affected by salmonella may require hospitalization.
      A person affected by salmonella may require hospitalization.
    • You must wash your hands with soap and water if they've come in contact with any raw eggs.
      You must wash your hands with soap and water if they've come in contact with any raw eggs.
    • Eggs that are undercooked or yolk that is left runny may present a risk of salmonella infection.
      Eggs that are undercooked or yolk that is left runny may present a risk of salmonella infection.
    • A person with salmonella should drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration due to diarrhea.
      A person with salmonella should drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration due to diarrhea.
    • The presence of salmonella may cause vomiting.
      The presence of salmonella may cause vomiting.