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Are Your Eggs Safe To Eat?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In the wake of an ABC News investigation into potentially unhealthy conditions at one of America's top egg producers, fast food giant McDonald's announced it would be finding eggs for its famous breakfast menu elsewhere.

Watch the full story Friday night on ABC's 20/20.

But how can you be sure the eggs you're picking up at the local supermarket are clean and safe to eat, no matter where they come from?

According to the Food and Drug Administration, an estimated 142,000 illnesses every year are caused by people eating eggs that are contaminated with salmonella. And though the FDA has regulations in place meant to keep the eggs clean before they hit your pan, the administration says consumers are their own best safeguard.

Whether the chicken that produced the eggs was infected with salmonella or the eggs were subjected to unsanitary conditions, the most effective way to be safe is simply to cook them, according to former FDA food safety chief David Acheson, and cook them well.

"What do I mean by cook them? Salmonella will be killed if you cook your eggs so that everything is hard," Acheson told ABC News. "The white is hard and the yolk is hard."

To be totally safe that means, according to Acheson, no runny yolks or eggs sunny side up.

For any recipes that require eggs be undercooked, the FDA recommends using eggs that have been treated to destroy salmonella through pasteurization.

For more on egg safety, including an instructional video, visit the FDA website.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio