It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

Please note that the Ask Dr. Gourmet feature is restricted to questions regarding food and nutrition. Due to the many questions we receive, not all questions may be answered. For more specific questions about your individual health, please contact your doctor. About Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy


Ask Dr. Gourmet

Is it safe to eat fertilized eggs?

Is it okay for kids and adults to eat fertilized eggs? I thought all eggs we eat are unfertilized. We have friends/family starting their own backyard chicken farm with hens and roosters with plans to eat the eggs and the roosters. Should we have any health concerns?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

A plate of fried eggs and wheat toast garnished with orange slices

It would be perfectly safe to eat fertilized eggs. Often eggs will be fertilized when roosters and hens live together (hey, they are chickens after all). You can tell if an egg is fertilized after breaking it because there will be a small white spot on the yolk.

After fertilization the embryo will grow only if kept warm. Incubation stops when the hen is not setting on them (or when you remove the egg to the refrigerator).

You can find out almost everything you might want to know about eggs at this excellent page:

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet