Don't Eat A Cracked Egg Until You Read This

If you've ever opened up a container of eggs you've just purchased from the grocery store, only to find that one or even a few of them has a crack or hole in the shell, you may have wondered just how bad it is to eat them. Well, unfortunately, according to the USDA, it is generally inadvisable to consume eggs that have cracks in them, with a few specific exceptions. This is because the cracks are the perfect entryway for bacteria to get into the yolk of the egg. If both the hard shell and the egg's protective membrane underneath have been punctured, the egg can become the host for any number of unhealthy bacteria, including salmonella, according to Eat or Toss.

"For microorganisms, a crack in an eggshell is like the Grand Canyon," Deana R. Jones, research food technologist, told the outlet. "You have basically made this superhighway for anything to get in there. Anything and everything." Because there is no telling what bacteria may have come in contact with the egg, or how long it has been exposed, it is safest to toss the cracked egg without eating it.

Some cracked eggs may be edible after thorough cooking

However, if you're concerned about food waste, you don't have to worry too much. You don't have to throw away every single egg every time it cracks. If the crack has not pierced the protective membrane of the shell, then it is probably still safe to eat because the bacteria would not be able to penetrate the egg's yolk. To be safe, all eggs with a cracked exterior should be thoroughly cooked at a high heat before consuming, to ensure that any bacteria that may have potentially entered through the hairline fracture is burned off, per Eat or Toss.

According to the USDA, if the egg cracks while it is in your possession, such as while you are driving home from the store, it is still most likely safe to use if you quickly seal it in an airtight container to prevent bacteria from getting inside the crack. Simply keep the egg refrigerated and be sure to use it within a few days, and make sure to cook it thoroughly before consuming it. Similarly, eggs that crack while you are hard boiling them are also safe to eat, because there is little chance that harmful bacteria will survive the cooking process. To avoid the risk of potentially coming into contact with harmful bacteria, use caution when transporting your eggs, and always be sure to inspect your carton for cracks at the grocery store before taking it home.