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When Are Eggs No Longer Safe To Eat?
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Stephen
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 8:33 pm    Post subject: When Are Eggs No Longer Safe To Eat? Reply with quote

When you buy eggs at a supermarket, the cartons have a cute little "sell by" date stamped on them, but no "use by" date. Recently, the grocery store I shop at had a buy one get one free sale on 18 packs of eggs and, naturally, I got two packs. It's now been a bit over a month and the remaining 7 eggs are about 2 weeks past their "sell by" date.

I had some today and haven't keeled over yet, but how much longer will these things last? Obviously if they start to smell, I won't eat them, but is there something else I should look for when it comes to determining if they're still safe to eat? How long should one expect eggs (kept in original carton and refrigerated) to last?

Thanks,
Stephen
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efsitz
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I keep eggs for months and months. I think as long as they smell fine when you crack them (and you're planning to cook them), they're fine. Refrigerate them, of course, and avoid any that got hairline cracks somehow (even if they're new), and crack them one at a time in a separate bowl before adding them to a recipe.

Maybe I just don't know any better, but I've reached the ripe old age of 38 with nary a bad-egg mishap, so I'm either right or I'm tougher than I realized. Smile
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Stephen
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks! If I don't make it to 38 due to some disastrous bad-egg adventure, I'll be sure to blame you ... but until then, this is one less thing to wonder (and worry) about!
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FulhamFan
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the rule is if you crack eggs in a bowl and the yolk doesn't break than the egg is still good.
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efsitz
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My experience is that bad eggs REEEEEEEK. There's no missing 'em. The real trick is to not find this out after you've already plopped them into your batter or some such. That's why cracking eggs into a separate bowl and adding them one at a time can save your skin.
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zookeeper
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This won't tell you if your older eggs are bad, but here's a way to tell which eggs are freshest:
Fill a pot with cold water and drop in your raw eggs (still in shells :-) ). The fresh eggs will sink and the older eggs will float. Why? Because as eggs get older, some gasses escape from the egg, the small air sack contained in one end gets bigger and the egg gets less dense.
This does not mean that the older eggs are bad, though - do what other have said and crack suspicious eggs into a seperate bowl and then do a smell test.
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Justin
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this topic actually is very interesting.

I have allways wondered about this myself!
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sanedane
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was just wondering why anyone would want to eat old eggs? They are realitively cheap and so much better fresh. They degrade in flavor and volume over time and probably nutritional value as well. Crack an egg (as fresh as you can find) and cook it next to one that sat for weeks and weeks in your fridge. The old eggs' yolk will slide off to the side and the whole thing is thin and runny. As a last thought, eggs that you buy at the supermarket are at least 30 days old when you purchase them. Add months in your fridge to that and these are just plain ready to compost.
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danielsan
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Zookeeper is close, but it don't add up quite right. My understanding is that MOISTURE escapes from the egg which causes the egg to draw in AIR causing the air sack to get larger causing the egg to float.

Which reminds me of a funny story... I had a girlfriend from Normandy (sounds like the beginning of a limerick...) who lived with me for about 4 months. I came home one day, after she had gone grocery shopping, and there was a 12-pack of eggs sitting in the cabinet near the dishes. I stood there dumbfounded for about... oh... 20 minutes. The notion of eggs being stored anywhere other than under a chicken or in the refrigerator threw me for a loop. (Like seeing your school teacher at the grocery store... "What are YOU doing here?")

Turns out that, under good conditions, refrigeration isn't necessary. HOWEVER, there is a FUNDAMENTAL difference between the eggs she was used to and those that now graced the cupboard before me... These eggs had been washed of their outer coating.

All of this aside, I think the core point is, considering the downsides to being wrong and the PERMANENT impression a rotten egg can leave on your olfactory senses, why not dump the sketchy eggs and get new ones for $2.49?
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chennes
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sanedane wrote:
As a last thought, eggs that you buy at the supermarket are at least 30 days old when you purchase them.

This is a bit of an exaggeration - it is very store-dependent. In some stores this time can be much shorter.
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sparrowgrass
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have chickens, so my eggs are no more than a day or two old when I eat them.

If I want to hardboil them, I have to leave them in the fridge for at least a month, or they are impossible to peel.

I worked, for a mercifully brief time, as a USDA poultry/egg grader. While it is true that eggs can be in cold storage for up to a month before being packaged, not all supermarket eggs are a month old. Storage space is expensive, and the packers have their production pretty well spread out over the year, so they don't have to store.

The exception to this is Christmas and Easter--more eggs are purchased then, so some may be from storage.

The above applies only to graded eggs--look for the USDA shield and a Grade A notation. States also grade eggs, and their rules may be different.
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Guest_linuxwitch
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never actually cracked a "bad" egg, but I have had some intestinal issues with eggs more than 60 days in my possession.

I like to keep fresh fresh eggs on hand for cooking, and older ones on hand for hard boiled applications. I always use the freshest eggs I can obtain for my mayonnaise.
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DuxIl



Joined: 23 Sep 2005
Posts: 16
Location: Duxbury, Massachusetts

PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2005 12:51 pm    Post subject: Rotten eggs Reply with quote

efsitz wrote:
My experience is that bad eggs REEEEEEEK. There's no missing 'em...


Hence the term rotten egg, perhaps?

Doing a quick search on this topic yielded a frightfully large number of articles on when women are too old to have babies and how long a woman's eggs can remain in a petri dish, etc., but also this from the American Egg Board:

Quote:
How can I tell if my eggs have spoiled?

The faster you use your eggs, the less time any potential bacteria will have to multiply. However, when properly handled and stored, eggs rarely spoil. Instead, as an egg ages, the white becomes thinner, the yolk becomes flatter and the yolk membrane weakens. Although these changes may affect appearance, they don’t indicate spoilage and don’t have any great effect on the nutritional quality of the egg or its functions in recipes. Rather than spoiling, if you keep eggs long enough, they’re more likely to simply dry up – especially if they’re stored in a moisture-robbing, frost-free refrigerator.

But, like all natural organic matter, eggs can eventually spoil through the action of spoilage organisms. Although they’re unpleasant, spoilage organisms don’t cause foodborne illness. The bacteria Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, Micrococcus and Bacillus may be found on egg shell surfaces because all these species can tolerate dry conditions. As the egg ages, though, these bacteria decline and are replaced by spoilage bacteria, such as coliform and Flavobacterium, but the most common are several types of Pseudomonas. Pseudomonas can grow at temperatures just above refrigeration and below room temperatures and, if they’re present in large numbers, may give eggs a sour or fruity odor and a blue-green coloring.

Although it is more likely for bacteria to cause spoilage during storage, mold growth can occur under very humid storage conditions or if eggs are washed in dirty water. Molds such as Penicillum, Alternaria and Rhizopus may be visible as spots on the shell and can penetrate the shell to reach the egg.

Discard any eggs with shells – or, for hard-cooked eggs, egg white surfaces – that don’t look or feel clean, normally colored and dry. A slimy feel can indicate bacterial growth and, regardless of color, powdery spots that come off on your hand may indicate mold.


As for how long eggs are considered useable, the AEB says:

Quote:
CARTON DATES
Egg cartons from USDA-inspected plants must display a Julian date--the date the eggs were packed. Although not required, they may also carry an expiration date beyond which the eggs should not be sold. In USDA-inspected plants, this date cannot exceed 30 days after the pack date. It may be less through choice of the packer or quantity purchaser such as your local supermarket chain. Plants not under USDA inspection are governed by laws of their states.

JULIAN DATES
Starting with January 1 as number 1 and ending with December 31 as 365, these numbers represent the consecutive days of the year. This numbering system is sometimes used on egg cartons to denote the day the eggs are packed. Fresh shell eggs can be stored in their cartons in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 weeks beyond this date with insignificant quality loss.
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ktexp2



Joined: 03 Nov 2005
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2005 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bad eggs explode when you crack them.

Trust me; I know! On my parents' farm, the chickens go through periods of laying tons of eggs and the two of them just can't eat them all. At least once I've run into an egg beyond its expiration date! Its super disgusting. I wouldn't even risk it.

Of course, thats only for the super-bad eggs. For mildly bad eggs, if the yolk is runny or the white has a yellow or greenish tinge to it, the egg is not good.
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the_maj



Joined: 11 Feb 2006
Posts: 1
Location: Shanghai, China

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Safe eggs...that's my problem as I live in China and everyone knows about the bird problem.
I want to make homemade mayo but worry about the risk of salmonella.
My question is whether you can reduce or eliminate the risk of salmonella by freezing eggs.
In general is there any problem with freezing them.

Thanks
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