Eggs and food safety

General advice for receiving eggs

Do not accept eggs that are:

  • Cracked or leaking
  • Without a stamp (supplier number)
  • Supplied in dirty packaging
  • Incorrectly labelled

All eggs that do not comply should be returned to the supplier.

Advice for storing, handling and processing eggs

  • Once received, store whole eggs in a refrigerator or cool room (at or below 5°C) as soon as possible.
  • Ensure eggs are rotated in order to use older eggs first with a shorter use-by date.
  • Only take out the quantity of eggs required for service.
  • Do not wash or soak eggs. The porous shell may allow harmful Salmonella bacteria to enter the egg. Wipe them with a clean damp cloth instead.
  • Don’t use raw or slightly cooked egg products – eggs should be cooked thoroughly so that both the egg white and yolk are firm.
  • Use safe, clean equipment and utensils when handling eggs at all times.
  • Ensure that all staff members are carrying out good personal hygiene practices, e.g. wash hands before preparing food.

General requirements for school canteens

All school canteens must register as a food business under the Food Act 2001 and obey all relevant food safety legislation. Under the Food Act, all food businesses must ensure they (I) sell safe and suitable food, and (II) prevent food from being contaminated.

When handling, processing and cooking food school canteens should have protocols and procedures in place to ensure compliance with the Food Act and the Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code.


Q: Can eggs and other fresh produce grown by the school be sold in the school canteen?

A: Raw eggs should not be sold at school canteens unless they comply with the legislative requirements concerning the production and sale of eggs. However, fresh produce can be sold at school canteens.

Q: Are school canteens allowed to sell food made with eggs from chickens raised by their school?

A: Yes – eggs produced by school chickens can be used in food sold by canteens as long as the food sold is safe and free from contamination.

Q: Are eggs safe to use if left on the counter overnight?

A: No – refrigerated eggs should not be left out for more than 2 hours. When left in room temperature eggs may sweat, and harmful bacteria can grow and contaminate the egg.

Q: What should I do with leftovers containing egg?

A: Refrigerate any foods containing egg as soon as possible following service. To reuse leftovers, they must be thoroughly reheated within 2-3 days. If refrigerated for more than three days, leftovers must be discarded appropriately.

Are eggs good for you? And how many should I eat?

Yes – eggs are great to include in your diet. They are a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids (cardioprotective), and a number of vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc and vitamin B12. It is recommended that one egg can be consumed daily as part of a healthy balanced diet.

Useful links


Good Habits for Life. Food safety information for schools: Eggs and fresh produce. ACT Health, Canberra; 2017 [cited 2017 May 15]. Available from