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Injury Prevention and Safety

Eggs

10/21/2008

Question:

how long can you keep eggs before they are bad

Answer:

University of California publication 8154, "Egg Basics for the Consumer:Packaging, Storage and Nutritional Information" has this to say about storing eggs:

"Eggs have excellent keeping quality; the type of egg (brown, 'organic', etc.) does not affect shelf life. When kept in the egg carton and properly refrigerated, clean eggs that are free of cracks will keep for months. Since eggs have very small pores in the shell, they can pick up odors from foods such as onions or fish that are stored next to them. This is another good reason for storing eggs in their retail carton or some other closed container."

With this said, I'd like to clarify. Eggs lose air and carbon dioxide through the shell over time, resulting in a larger and larger air cell at one end of the egg and an egg white and yolk that gets a little thinner (not as viscous and the broken out yolk doesn't stand as high). This doesn't make the egg unsafe or bad, but it has lost quality. Eggs are freshest and top quality if used by the "Best if used by" date posted on the egg carton, but can be used well after that date. This date is usually 2 to 3 weeks away. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service Fact Sheet at www.fsis.usda.gov/Factsheets/Focus_On_Shell_Eggs/index.asp suggests that eggs will stay safe for 3 to 5 weeks even if it is past the "Sell by" date on the carton and if stored at 40 degrees F.

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Response by:

Sharron   Coplin, MS, RD, LD Sharron Coplin, MS, RD, LD
Former Lecturer
Food & Nutrition
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University