Do eggs need to be refrigerated?
Here in the United States it is uncommon to find eggs at the grocery store that are not washed and refrigerated. Even as a child I remember that eggs were sold this way also. What if I was to fill you in on a little secret, most of the world do not wash or refrigerate eggs that are for sale.
I found this out this past year when we took a trip to Europe. Walking through the stores I saw that the eggs were sold where the canned milk and baking goods were sold. Business Week article on eggs sold in Europe.
Here in the States the FDA states that eggs need to be sterilized and chilled in order to reduce any chances of salmonella getting into the internal part of the egg. With the way our culture is worried about diseases and bacteria we have come accustomed to washing and refrigerating our eggs when we purchase them. Many articles online state the reason why the FDA insist that the eggs produced here in the United States needs to be washed and refrigerated has to do with the way the mass produced egg factory farming is done here in the states.
Now if you are like me and have our own hens that supply us with eggs than I disagree with what the FDA has to say about how the eggs are handled. Here in America once the egg is popped out of the chicken the large chicken egg factories put the egg in a fancy machine that washes them with hot soapy water which makes the shell pretty and clean. It seems here in the United States we are a little spoiled in that we want everything supper clean and pretty.
But in reality washing eggs compromises the egg by washing about the barely visible natural protective coating that keeps the egg safe. Egg shells are porous and they have a membrane that is called a bloom that is put there naturally to protect the environment of the egg.
If you raise your own eggs and you feel the need to wash your eggs just remember that washing eggs removes this protective coating and invites bacteria to be drawn inside the egg. If you still feel that you need to wash your eggs wash them in hot water not cold since cold water creates a vacuum affect which will pull unwanted bacteria inside. If the eggs are really dirty I will only wash the eggs that I am going to eat at that time and I will let the others sit on the counter until I am ready to use them in a recipe or have them for a meal.
How do you feel about washing or not your own chicken eggs, we would love to hear from you.
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