Can Pregnant Women Eat Over-Easy Eggs? [Country Guide]

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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Over-easy eggs have a runny yolk that is undercooked. Therefore, many women wonder if they are safe to eat. Here, we discuss this tricky food to navigate during pregnancy.

Since over-easy eggs are undercooked food, it is best to avoid them while you are pregnant. However, this recommendation varies slightly for different countries.

Let’s dive into more information about the guidelines for consuming undercooked eggs, including over-easy eggs, in different countries. Read on to learn more!

Is it Safe to Eat Over-Easy Eggs When Pregnant? 

In general, it is not advised to consume over-easy eggs while you are pregnant since they have a runny and undercooked yolk. Eating undercooked eggs increases your risk of salmonella food poisoning. Pregnant women are especially susceptible to salmonella bacteria. 

Each country has slightly different guidelines for pregnant women consuming eggs. Let’s discuss some of the critical points.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends avoiding raw or undercooked eggs while you are pregnant, especially for eggs that are not pasteurized.

Pasteurization is the process of heating the eggs to high temperatures that kill any bacteria in food or pathogens that may be present. This process greatly reduces the chance of foodborne illness. 

cooking over easy eggs in pan

Similarly, the Government of Canada recommends that pregnant women avoid uncooked or “lightly cooked” eggs as well. This guideline states that the yolk should be firm.

In over-easy eggs, the yolk is runny and, therefore, according to the Canadian government, should not be eaten during pregnancy. 

In the United Kingdom, the guidelines differ slightly from the United States and Canada. Lion Mark eggs in the U.K. have been reviewed and accepted to be safe for pregnant women to consume raw, runny, or cooked (source: Egg Info).

Therefore, based on these standards, over-easy eggs made from Lion Mark eggs would be safe for a pregnant person.

Let’s discuss the basic food safety guidelines for undercooked egg consumption during pregnancy in Australia. Similar to the United States and Canada, Australia recommends that the eggs be served fully cooked (source: Australian Eggs). 

Finally, New Zealand follows suit and recommends that pregnant women avoid consuming raw eggs (source: Ministry for Primary Industries).

Most countries agree that pregnant women should only eat eggs that are fully cooked to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. 

Can I Eat an Over-Medium Egg When Pregnant?

Over-medium eggs refer to an egg prepared similarly to an over-easy style. However, the yolk is slightly more cooked or congealed in over-medium eggs, though it is not as cooked as the yolk for over-hard eggs.

While the egg is more cooked in the instance of over-medium eggs, it is still undercooked and should not be eaten by pregnant women. 

To ensure that your egg is cooked fully, such as in over-hard types of egg, it is recommended to cook eggs to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit or greater (source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC])

This recommendation is due to the increased risk of salmonella infection from undercooked, raw, or runny eggs, especially for pregnant women. You should especially avoid uncooked eggs if they are unpasteurized. 

two cooked over easy eggs, seasoned with pepper on a white plate

I Ate an Over-Easy Egg When Pregnant: What Should I Do?

If you have already eaten a runny or over-easy egg, there is no need to panic. The likelihood of getting sick from salmonella is low. However, there are some symptoms to monitor just in case. 

Salmonella symptoms from runny egg ingestion would likely begin six hours to six days after you consume the eggs (source: CDC).

Common symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramping. If you experience these symptoms, contact your physician immediately. 

To further reduce the risk of getting sick from eggs, it is essential to throw out eggs that appear dirty or are cracked (source: CDC).

Also, you should eat your eggs immediately after cooking them or refrigerate them within two hours (or one hour if the temperature outside is 90 degrees Fahrenheit or greater).

Finally, to avoid cross-contamination that could lead to salmonella spreading on surfaces, thoroughly wash your hands and all surfaces (such as counters, cutting boards, and utensils) that come into contact with any raw egg. 

In conclusion, over-easy eggs are a common style of eggs that are served with an undercooked and runny yolk. Therefore, over-easy eggs should not be consumed during pregnancy.

I hope this article helped you understand the guidelines different countries have regarding consuming raw or undercooked eggs during pregnancy.