How Long Are Eggs Good For?
Understanding Egg Freshness and Shelf Life
Egg freshness is determined by the date of lay, which can be found on the carton. In the United States, the sell-by date must be within 45 days of the pack date. However, eggs are usually still good for a few weeks beyond the sell-by date as long as they have been stored properly.
The shelf life of eggs can also vary depending on how they are stored. Eggs should always be kept refrigerated at a temperature of 40°F or below. This will help to slow down the growth of bacteria and prevent spoilage. If eggs are left out at room temperature for more than two hours, they should be discarded.
It is important to note that eggs should never be washed until just before they are used. Washing eggs removes the protective coating on the shell that helps to prevent bacteria from entering the egg. If an egg is cracked, it should be used immediately or discarded. Cracked eggs are more susceptible to bacterial growth and spoilage.
Proper Egg Storage to Prolong Freshness
Proper egg storage is essential for keeping eggs fresh and safe to eat. Eggs should always be kept refrigerated at a temperature of 40°F or below. It is important to keep eggs in their original carton to protect them from moisture and odors from other foods in the refrigerator.
When storing eggs in the refrigerator, it is best to keep them in the main compartment rather than in the door. The temperature in the door can fluctuate more than in the main compartment, which can affect the freshness of the eggs.
It is also important to use eggs within their recommended shelf life. While eggs can still be safe to eat for a few weeks after the sell-by date, they will start to lose freshness and quality over time. If you are unsure about the freshness of an egg, you can perform a simple test to see if it is still good (see the next section for more information).
How to Tell If an Egg is Still Good
There are several ways to tell if an egg is still good to eat. The first method is to perform a visual inspection. Hold the egg up to a light source and look for any cracks or leaks. If the shell is intact, check the color of the yolk and the white. A fresh egg will have a bright yellow yolk and a thick, cloudy white. An older egg will have a flatter yolk and a thinner, more watery white.
Another way to check the freshness of an egg is to perform a float test. Fill a bowl with cold water and gently place the egg in the water. A fresh egg will sink to the bottom and lie on its side. An older egg will start to tilt upwards or stand on end, indicating that the air cell inside has enlarged.
If you are still unsure about the freshness of an egg, you can crack it open and perform a sniff test. A fresh egg will have no noticeable odor, while a bad egg will have a strong, unpleasant smell.
Using Expired Eggs: Risks and Safety Precautions
While it is best to use eggs within their recommended shelf life, it is still possible to use eggs that have passed their sell-by date as long as they have been stored properly and show no signs of spoilage. However, it is important to be aware of the risks and take proper safety precautions.
Eggs that are past their sell-by date may contain higher levels of bacteria, which can cause foodborne illness. To minimize the risk of illness, it is important to cook eggs thoroughly before eating. This means cooking them until both the white and yolk are firm.
If you are using eggs that are past their sell-by date, it is also important to inspect them carefully before using. Look for any cracks or leaks in the shell, and perform a sniff test to check for any unusual odors. If the egg appears to be spoiled, it should be discarded immediately.
Finally, it is important to practice good food safety habits when handling eggs. Always wash your hands before and after handling eggs, and be sure to sanitize any surfaces or utensils that come into contact with raw eggs.
Egg Safety Tips for Consumers and Food Handlers
Egg safety is important for both consumers and food handlers. To minimize the risk of foodborne illness, it is important to follow proper food safety guidelines when handling and preparing eggs.
Consumers should always purchase eggs from a reputable source, and should check the carton for any signs of damage or cracks. Eggs should be refrigerated as soon as possible after purchase, and should be kept refrigerated until they are ready to be used.
When preparing eggs, it is important to cook them thoroughly to kill any harmful bacteria. This means cooking eggs until both the white and yolk are firm. If you are making recipes that call for raw or undercooked eggs, such as Caesar salad dressing or homemade ice cream, it is important to use pasteurized eggs to minimize the risk of illness.
For food handlers, it is important to follow proper food safety procedures when handling and preparing eggs. This includes washing hands thoroughly before and after handling eggs, and using separate cutting boards and utensils for raw eggs and other foods. Food handlers should also ensure that eggs are cooked to the appropriate temperature and stored properly to prevent spoilage.