Do you check the expiration on a carton of eggs before you buy them?
You should. That’s where your efforts to get the best tasting egg start – at the market. It’s up to you to be a smart consumer and know exactly where your eggs are coming from and how fresh they are. Here’s a handy FAQ on the protocol to keep in mind when purchasing and storing eggs.
How are eggs transported to stores?
The eggs you buy likely arrive on a truck to the grocery store every day or week. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s 1990 Sanitary Food Transportation Act, it’s required that vehicles be dedicated to transporting food only, with shell eggs stored and transported under refrigeration at an air temperature not exceeding 45° F. In addition, all packed shell eggs must feature a label and certification about the level of refrigeration to notify consumers.
What considerations go into buying eggs?
Always buy directly from a refrigerated case, lifting the lid and inspecting that no shells are cracked or broken. Check the expiration date, and don’t forget to make sure the carton bears the USDA grade shield as eggs should meet strict government standards for quality and size. If you prefer egg substitutes, make sure all seals are tight with no signs of tampering.
Is grading of eggs mandatory?
Inspections are required for eggs in terms of general wholesomeness; however, when it comes to mandatory grading for quality, this is voluntary. Companies who opt to grade their eggs must pay for that service. If you see a USDA mark on a carton, it means it has been graded for quality under the supervision of a professional. If a carton of eggs simply says Grade A, it means it was not graded for quality.
Do my eggs need to be refrigerated at all times?
Yes. This is because any variation in temperature for any length of time can lead to degradation of the egg. When you leave a cold egg out unrefrigerated, it begins to sweat which in turn leads to the proliferation of bacteria. Never leave eggs out of the fridge for more than a couple of hours max.
Should I wash my eggs?
No you do not have to, as USDA graded eggs must be washed and sanitized prior to packing.
How should I store eggs?
Your best bet is to leave them in their carton (rather than the refrigerator cup tray) so you can easily and quickly refer to the expiration date at any time. Many refrigerators have spots on the door for eggs, but it’s best to keep your eggs in the back of the fridge where it’s coldest.
How long can I keep eggs?
You can safely keep eggs in your fridge for up to four to five weeks, provided they are stored at a temperature of 40 °F or lower. The expiration you see on the carton usually refers to the deadline in which they can be sold, but they are still safe to consume a bit beyond that date.
Being smart about egg consumption is important in maintaining your healthy lifestyle. Enjoy eggs within the parameters above for the safest experience possible.