How long can eggs stored in the fridge?

  1. How long can eggs be stored in the fridge?

    Normally, I store eggs in my fridge for about less than 2 weeks. So how long at max eggs can be stored that still be eatenable?
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Moonbear

    Moonbear 11,955
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    They should have an expiration date on the carton. I've used eggs after that, but there's no guarantee.
  4. Eggs actually keep for a pretty long time and the rotten eggs odor can be smelled through the shell if they do go bad. This is one of the factors that has promoted the cultivation of chickens in human history; chicken eggs as a commodity can be transported a long distance without refrigeration and still be edible, much further than something like raw meat.

    If you keep them beyond the sell-by date definitely be sure to cook them thoroughly though, no runny yolks, because besides spoilage salmonella is a concern too. (And actually, because of salmonella, the usual advice is to cook them thoroughly even before the expiration date too.)

    But don't take my word for it, because I'm not a Food Safety Inspector or anything. Refer to the USDA's web site on this. Check out the section called “Dating of Cartons.”
  5. Thank you both.
    So eggs can be stored in refregerators 3 to 5 weeks.
  6. jim mcnamara

    jim mcnamara 1,565
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    UP until recently, the USDA allowed eggs to be stored as much as 6 weeks before being shipped to retailers. Under Clinton, the rules were changed, partially in response to the salmonella problems at the time in retail whole eggs.
  7. NoTime

    NoTime 1,568
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  8. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    When I went to France I was amazed that eggs were being stored un-refrigerated. These were eggs that they gathered from their own hens. It seems that there is a natural protective coating on eggs that is removed when commercial producers wash the eggs prior to packaging which reduces their shelf life. Of course I don't recommend this <disclaimer>, but it is true. Unwashed eggs picked out of a nest can remain un-refrigerated for several weeks.
  9. Moonbear

    Moonbear 11,955
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    They were storing them that long? If they had their own hens, you'd think they'd be using the fresh eggs daily rather than storing them a long time.

    I found this source, that seems to corroborate what you said about the processing/washing of eggs removing the protective coating (but a layer of oil is put on to replace it). It also suggests eggs can be stored quite a bit longer than the sell-by date (I routinely do this, but wasn't going to suggest it in case I'm just immune to salmonella or something).

    The article also confirms the other thing I thought I remembered, but wasn't completely sure was accurate, that any bacterial contamination is primarily coming from the shell. That's the reason for the washing. It seems an unwashed egg would be less safe if stored a longer time (not in the article, but just trying to reason from that) since the bacteria on the outside would continue to grow and could contaminate whatever you're cooking when you cracked the egg open. Afterall, eggs don't exactly exit through the cleanest part of a chicken. :wink:
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2008
  10. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

  11. The USDA “All about eggs” page I linked to above talks about salmonella somewhat.

    Supposedly Alfred Hitchcock had some sort of phobia about eggs. He thought that blood spilling all over the place was just fine but a broken yolk running out was frightening and revolting. :tongue2:
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2008
  12. Okay, here's a question I ran up against recently. If you hard boil eggs just prior to the "best before" date, having stored them in the fridge the whole time prior to that date, and continuing to refrigerate them after hard boiling them, would they still be good? And, if so, for about how long, does anyone figure?
  13. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Well for me, about a year. :uhh: I'm of the school of thought "if it didn't kill me, it was ok".

    Seriously, damn, I ran across this looking up raw eggs and now I will have to find it again. :grumpy:
  14. GeorginaS: What we've been saying and the USDA says this too, is that eggs will usually last much longer than the “best before” date on them.

    That USDA page says that hard-boiled eggs actually spoil more quickly than uncooked eggs, that you should wait no more than a week after cooking to use them. It actually cites the same kind of thing Evo mentioned, that during boiling a natural protective coating is removed that makes the shell more porous.

    Hmm, so I wonder if the phenomenon Evo mentions of fresh vs. processed eggs is actually caused by pasteurization as a precaution against salmonella? Pasteurization takes things up to a pretty high temperature, though not boiling.
  15. We've got chickens of our own. Generally it is best to not wash them, and if you must, do it with water about 10 degrees warmer because that way the egg will expand and push dirt out, if you do it with cooler water, it will suck stuff in. Eggs do last quite a while unrefridged. I have noticed that when they go bad if you lightly shake the egg you will feel the yolk moving, where as if they're fresh you wont feel that.

    Evo: are you sure they weren't fertilized eggs? That'd explain them keeping, as they would be a living cell.
  16. Thanks, CaptainQuasar. Sorry, I didn't read far enough down on the USDA page link that you provided to see that information about hard boiling eggs.

    The reason why I specified "before before" date, is because you folks are in the US (it appears) and there are different labelling/packaging standards used there. You have "sell dates" and "EXP dates" and whatnot. I'm in Canada and we have one dating stamp, the "best before" date and that's it. It's sort of murky just what, precisely, that's supposed to mean.

    Anyway, thank you! Out that lovely package of hard boiled eggs goes, then.
  17. Moonbear

    Moonbear 11,955
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    Yeah, I don't keep hard boiled eggs more than a week either, regardless of what any site says...actually, I don't keep them more than 5 days...I can SMELL the difference. If they smell strongly eggy (that would be the egg version of fishy I guess), I toss them (I apply the same rule to foods made with hard-boiled eggs, like potato salad).

    I hate "best before" dates. "Sell by" I understand...that's how long it gets to be on the store shelf, and it's useable for some reasonable time after that. "Expires" dates I understand...don't use it after that date if you aren't a fan of hugging toilet bowls. But, "Best Before" is an odd term...yep, it's BEST before that date, but that implies it's still okay after that date, but rather ambiguous as to just how long before it's spoiled, which is what we all really want to know.
  18. No disrespect meant to your Canadianness! Some of my best friends are Canadian. :biggrin: I just wanted to make sure that in giving any health-related advice, particularly about eating potentially-spoiled food, I'm directly citing scientific authority.
  19. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Good deal CQ!! Yes, that was the information on hard boiled eggs.:approve:
  20. I have heard this from multiple professors so I assume it's true. The bacteria is somehow passed from the hen's digestive tract to the embryo.
  21. From what I've always heard, salmonella is only a problem when the egg is cracked and exposed to air for a period of time. Thats why you can eat fresh cookie dough just fine, but its not a good idea to do so if the dough has been sitting out for a day.
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