Less than half of adults, only 48 percent, wash their hands with soap and water after cracking eggs, and over 25 percent eat cookie dough or cake batter containing raw eggs, according to a study published last month in the Journal of Food Protection. Both activities put a person at serious risk for food poisoning.
“It’s shocking,” says lead author Katherine Kosa, a research analyst in food and nutrition policy at RTI International, a nonprofit research organization based in North Carolina. In an earlier study, her team found that 98 percent of people wash their hands after handling raw poultry, but somehow that same logic hasn’t extended to eggs, she says.
She and collaborators surveyed 1,504 US grocery shoppers about their food-handling habits. The researchers were happy to find that 99 percent of people purchased refrigerated eggs and kept them refrigerated. Keeping eggs adequately cool prevents any salmonella present in the eggs from growing to dangerous levels.