Eggs, store them on the counter or in the fridge?

Source

The other day, Hubber Merlin Fraser wrote:

Fresh Eggs: How Fresh is Fresh? I was always told the fresher the egg the smaller the white... will spread while frying. I just cooked an egg bought in a supermarket yesterday and when I cracked it into the pan the white spread far and wide.

I answered:

The link below goes to a good page with everything you need to know!! And yes, it says you had an egg that may not have been fresh. Did you check the pack date on the carton? "Many eggs reach stores only a few days after the hen lays them. Egg cartons with the USDA grade shield on them, indicating they came from a USDA-inspected plant, must display the 'pack date' (the day that the eggs were washed, graded, and placed in the carton). The number is a three-digit code that represents the consecutive day of the year (the 'Julian Date') starting with January 1 as 001 and ending with December 31 as 365."

http://whatscookingamerica.net/Q-A/EggsSell.htm

Another Hubber responded: Eggs kept in a fridge will spread further than ones kept at room temperature...as mentioned on your HUB about useless things,eggs should not be kept in a fridge, many recipes state ''Use eggs kept at room temperature ''.

Where do you store your eggs?

  • In the fridge
  • On the counter
  • Other
See results without voting

Oh, no!!!

I was worried that others held the same misconception, that eggs be stored at room temperature, or might read that answer and follow the advice to store eggs unrefrigerated. I wrote this hub to help readers avoid egg born sickness or even worse.

In the United States, using FoodNet data from 1996–1998, the CDCP estimated there were 76 million food-borne illnesses (26,000 cases for 100,000 inhabitants):

  • 325,000 were hospitalized (111 per 100,000 inhabitants);
  • 5,000 people died (1.7 per 100,000 inhabitants.).
  • Major pathogens from food-borne illness in the United States cost upwards of US $35 billion in medical costs and lost productivity (1997)

According to Wikipedia, about 142,000 (reported) Americans are infected each year with Salmonella from chicken eggs, and about 30 die.

And to add a note of caution, Salmonella's doubling time in an ideal medium (which an warm egg is pretty close to) is about 20 minutes. If an egg is warm for two hours, that's plenty of time for the bacterium to reach high. and possibly dangerous, levels.

There are various ways to store eggs including salting, pickling, coating them in water glass, and even coating them with a mixture of clay, wood ash, salt, lime, and rice straw.

In modern America, we use refrigeration to impede bacterial growth. We don't harvest eggs from the nest right to our table. Our eggs are transported often long distances and take significant time to get to their destination, the grocer. Refrigeration insures that pathogens do not grow. Without it, these pathogens would grow and multiply at an alarming rate with dangerous levels achieved in mere hours or less if hot enough.

How often do you eat eggs?

  • Once a week
  • More than once a week
  • Less than once a week
  • Less than once a month
  • Don't eat eggs
See results without voting
Source

The Egg Safety Center Recommends:

Labeling and Dating of Cartons

Many eggs reach stores only a few days after the hen lays them. Two dates can appear on the egg carton. Egg cartons with the USDA grade shield on them must display the "pack date" or the day that the eggs were washed, graded, and placed in the carton. This number, called the Julian Date, is a three-digit code that represents the consecutive day of the year starting with January 1 as 001 and ending with December 31 as 365. The “sell-by" or “expiration” date is not required by the federal government, but may be required by the egg laws in the state where the eggs are marketed. Always purchase eggs before the sell-by or expiration date on the carton.

Refrigeration -- After the shell eggs reach home, it is very important to refrigerate them at a temperature of 45 °F or below. Keep the eggs in their carton and place them in the coldest part of the refrigerator, not in the door. Storing eggs in the refrigerator door could lead to temperature fluctuations that can lead to bacteria growth. Eggs may be refrigerated 3 to 5 weeks from the day they are placed in the refrigerator. The sell-by date will usually expire during that length of time, but the eggs are perfectly safe to use. Liquid egg products should be kept refrigerated at all times and consumed within two to six days from the date of purchase. Once liquid egg products are opened, they should be used immediately.

How should eggs be refrigerated?

Refrigerate raw shell eggs in their cartons on the middle or lower inside shelf, not on the door, and away from any meat that might drip juices or any raw produce that might contact eggshells. Cover or wrap well any egg mixtures or leftover cooked egg dishes. For all perishable foods, including eggs and dishes containing eggs, allow no more than 2 hours at room temperature for preparation and serving, 30 minutes to 1 hour when it's 85°F or hotter without refrigeration.

An egg can float in water when its air cell has enlarged significantly to keep it buoyant. This means the egg is old, but it may be perfectly safe to use. Crack the egg into a bowl and examine it for an off-odor or unusual appearance before deciding to use or discard it. A spoiled egg will have an unpleasant odor when you break open the shell, either when raw or cooked.

Source

From Incredible Edible Egg


Are Your Eggs Safe to Eat?

Safe Food Handling Tips

Eggs should be cooked until the whites and yolks are firm or, for dishes containing eggs, until an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit is reached because Salmonella is destroyed by the heat of cooking.

In addition to thoroughly cooking your eggs, follow these simple food-handling practices:

  • Clean your hands, as well as the surfaces and utensils that come into contact with raw eggs – an important step for avoiding cross-contamination.
  • Separate eggs from other foods in your grocery cart, grocery bags and in the refrigerator to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Keep eggs in the main section of the refrigerator at a temperature between 33 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit – eggs accidentally left at room temperature should be discarded after two hours, or one hour in warm weather.

The USDA recommends

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/focus_on_shell_eggs/index.asp#1

What Safe Handling Instructions are on Egg Cartons?
All packages of raw, shell eggs not treated to destroy Salmonella must carry the following safe handling statement: SAFE HANDLING INSTRUCTIONS: To prevent illness from bacteria: Keep eggs refrigerated, cook eggs until yolks are firm, and cook foods containing eggs thoroughly.

The bottom line:

Check the dates when you buy your eggs and keep track of how long you have them stored. Keep your eggs cold to the proper temperature. Warm them prudently for a short time to use in recipes if required, cook to proper temperature to insure pathogens are destroyed. Dispose of eggs if they smell or look off.

Thanks for reading. Take care, and enjoy your breakfast!!! I know I will!!!

More by this Author


Comments 28 comments

ariasnote 5 years ago

Great hub and very useful!! : )


Tony Locicero profile image

Tony Locicero 5 years ago from Inverness Florida Author

Thanks!! Glad you stopped by.


Loveslove profile image

Loveslove 5 years ago from England

I read with interest ..thanks


Tony Locicero profile image

Tony Locicero 5 years ago from Inverness Florida Author

Thanks, Loveslove. Appreciate you reading!


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

This is a great and informative article! We are not egg eaters but sometimes buy them. Now I know what NOT to do. Thanks so much!


Merlin Fraser profile image

Merlin Fraser 5 years ago from Cotswold Hills

Thanks for all the great information, although I'm still not sure if it answers my origin question as to the freshness of my original egg upon cooking.

It was well within the use by date range and tasted fine.

I see the point about refrigeration and eggs although I have to admit to keeping mine out of the fridge.

When I was a kid growing up we had chickens and the eggs were just stored in the pantry. We did not have a fridge back then.

However, upon greater reflection two things come to mind, houses back then were a lot cooler than they are today, no central heating as well as no fridge, so perhaps it is wiser to keep them in their carton and in the fridge now a days.

The other quick point is you live in a country much warmer than ours so your risk maybe higher, food standards wise we seem to have similar rules and regulations although until today I didn't realise that egg producers have a leeway of 28 days from lay to use by date for fresh eggs.

I shall now spend the rest of the day wondering what Hyphenbird and family sometimes do with eggs if they don't eat them !

Thanks again for your Hub...


Tony Locicero profile image

Tony Locicero 5 years ago from Inverness Florida Author

Thanks Hyphenbird!!


Tony Locicero profile image

Tony Locicero 5 years ago from Inverness Florida Author

Merlin, was going to say that maybe the production methods used in the US vs the other side of the pond might be a cause for different handling of eggs but just read a good article at http://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/1357/salmon... that seems to say otherwise.

"An extremely important question that must be answered is, what are the Europeans getting for the incredible expenditure of effort and money trying to eliminate Salmonella from the breeders, hatchery and grow-out operation? For example, what impact does this effort have on human salmonellosis? Cox et al. (2008) reported that the total number of people who have salmonellosis is far greater (42.8 per 100,000 people in Sweden versus the US where it is 14.9 per 100,000 people) in a country where extraordinarily expensive measures are used to eliminate Salmonella from the flocks prior to processing."

I don't doubt that chickens and eggs produced in the US are more likely to have Salmonella in/on them. Maybe the negative attitude toward warm storage of eggs here in the US is warranted and maybe also the reason for the lower incidence of Salmonella here than in Sweden.

I see the UK and Scotland do also have problems, with both eggs and chicken. BBC NEWS: "Ten years after she caused controversy by claiming that most egg production in the UK was infected with salmonella, former Tory minister Edwina Currie has discovered that the safety of our eggs and poultry is by no means guaranteed." Link here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/253554.stm


surale profile image

surale 5 years ago from pakistan

awesome work you done. i like it.


Tony Locicero profile image

Tony Locicero 5 years ago from Inverness Florida Author

Why thank you Surale, that is very kind.


KFlippin profile image

KFlippin 5 years ago from Amazon

Interesting hub, I will quit throwing out those suspicious half floaters. Always float them at expiration and it seems most kind of sideways float and I toss them, good to know I can stop being so wasteful.......thanks for the info.


Tony Locicero profile image

Tony Locicero 5 years ago from Inverness Florida Author

Thanks KFlippin. Trick seems to be to use them if they look and smell OK and to make sure you cook them as required.


KFlippin profile image

KFlippin 5 years ago from Amazon

For me, the trick may be to have some one else handy to sniff, my smeller is chronically impaired with sinusitis ...... :) Although, I would add that I don't toss the eggs totally, I set them aside and cook them up for my sundry cats, they like them. :)


Tony Locicero profile image

Tony Locicero 5 years ago from Inverness Florida Author

Great idea, KFlippin!!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

I learned something today...how to read the pack date on an egg carton. Thanks! We always keep our eggs refrigerated as prescribed in this hub with the exception of taking them out for a bit of warming prior to using them in some recipes like souffles. Rating this useful and up!


Tony Locicero profile image

Tony Locicero 5 years ago from Inverness Florida Author

Yeah, I always warm them up a bit before making an omelet. Thanks!!


Tony Locicero profile image

Tony Locicero 5 years ago from Inverness Florida Author

Interesting. So far we all eat eggs at least once a week and 83% keep the eggs in the fridge...


daffodil2010 profile image

daffodil2010 5 years ago

i store them in the fridge. nice hub, thanks!


Kingsthorpedavid profile image

Kingsthorpedavid 5 years ago from Toowoomba Queensland Australia

I store them in the fridge along with my beer but we do live in Sunny Queensland!

Very informative Hub thanks Tony.

Being the main Chef in the house I try to take the eggs out prior to cooking and let them get to room temperature, this helps a lot with timing boiled/poached eggs.


Tony Locicero profile image

Tony Locicero 5 years ago from Inverness Florida Author

I store mine right next to the beer too!!

So far, looks like 82% of us store in the fridge and the rest opt for the counter....


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

Voted up for valuable information - the date code! I love a fresh egg and have noticed that some stores offer fresher eggs than others. A fresh egg tastes so good! I can't imagine keeping eggs out on the counter, so thanks for straightening that out to.


Tony Locicero profile image

Tony Locicero 4 years ago from Inverness Florida Author

Thanks Dolores!!!


Tony Locicero profile image

Tony Locicero 4 years ago from Inverness Florida Author

I love getting eggs and other products right off a farm. Great taste. Funny how a lot of people don't like the taste of farm fresh items like chicken. They've been raised on store bought, flavored items, and don't often know what the real thing tastes like!!! Tomatoes are another one. I've known people in Texas who though they didn't like tomatoes until they actually tasted the real thing! All they knew about the flavor of tomatoes was what they learn eating supermarket, genetically manipulated for storage, gas ripened pseudo fruit.....


acaetnna profile image

acaetnna 4 years ago from Guildford

I always store my eggs in the fridge and was always taught that they should be stored blunt end uppermost so that the chalaza inside will not be stretched. This will help eggs stay fresh for longer. A fresh egg always has two distinctive layers of white, the one next to the yolk standing more proud. This was a great article, thank you. A very useful reminder, thank you.


mike kirwan 4 years ago

please remember that you are buying eggs from an egg factory, when buying at a supermarket. These eggs have been handled, washed and cooled for travel. Read up on fresh ,local farm eggs and what did we do when there was no refrigeration? Do your home work before commenting.


Tony Locicero profile image

Tony Locicero 4 years ago from Inverness Florida Author

I buy a lot of fresh farm eggs when I can get them. So much better than the egg factory eggs. My father in law had a dairy farm and everything we ate there was fresh. Now that was feast after eating supermarket eggs, produce and chicken.

Oddly enough, some people do NOT like fresh chickens direct from the farm!! They grew up on mass produced chickens that lack any taste and find the real thing to taste strange!!


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

I always keep my eggs in the refrigerator. I also make sure I don't keep them much beyond the expiration date even though you said they last longer than that when refrigerated. I just like to feel safe.

I never realized how long it takes for the eggs we buy in the supermarket to go from the farm to the shelf. I'm going to try to find where I can buy farm fresh eggs, just to experience the difference in taste.

This was a very useful and helpful hub. Voted up.


Tony Locicero profile image

Tony Locicero 3 years ago from Inverness Florida Author

Glen, there were a couple of 60 minute shows that scared the heck out of me. Big egg distributors repackaging old eggs, storing at unsafe temperatures, high bacterial counts!! Hard to know who to trust these days!!

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