For years Americans and Europeans have battled over many issues. How to spell colo(u)r? Whether to measure in kilometers or miles? How much is appropriate to tip? The list is endless. Many of these issues have been solved and in most cases, the Americans are just wrong. There may be one case that the Americans are right though and that is in the question of eggs.
Eggs are a staple of most diets today. In every continent of the world, people eat eggs regularly. They are easy to cook, nutritious, and absolutely delicious. One of the great debates around eggs though is if they should be kept in the fridge or not. Europeans argue that when they buy eggs they are not in the fridge so why put them in there after purchasing them. Americans argue that there is an egg tray in your fridge for a reason, so you should use it. For a while, it appeared the debate was settled as some argued that if eggs are ever put in a fridge they should be kept in a fridge if eggs are kept out of a fridge they are fine to remain out of a fridge. This is false. The truth is that it is better to keep your eggs in a fridge. Here’s why.
Eggs can carry bacteria like salmonella on their outer shell. Salmonella is well known for causing vomiting and diarrhea. Raw or undercooked eggs often contain these bacteria and are not safe to consume if they have it. This caused the American food safety boards to introduce new rules in the 1970s. From then on it was mandatory for egg producers to wash sanitize and refrigerate their eggs. Other countries have followed suit with Japan, Canada, Sweden, Norway, and Finland all in the same egg-shaped box.
In most European countries though eggs are not refrigerated in the store or at home. It is believed that the shell keeps the eggs safe from bacteria so there is no need to store them in a fridge. They say that there is a protective layer on the shell called a cuticle that keeps it safe from bacteria. While that sounds true, studies have shown that over a short amount of time that cuticle erodes and disappears, leaving a vulnerable egg behind.
Research has shown that high-quality eggs will keep their status after 15 weeks of refrigeration while those that are kept out of the fridge will degrade in quality after just a week. The weight of the egg also decreases. It appears that by keeping your egg out of the fridge your egg is not only decreasing in quality, but it is also decreasing in value.
While some may debate the necessity of fridge storage even after reading this. It is clear that storing eggs in a fridge offers now downside while storing outside a fridge may have a downside. To be extra safe, store your eggs in the fridge. Interestingly researchers say to ignore the egg tray. You should store your eggs in the coldest part of the fridge, which is not the door and you should keep them in the carton for extra protection.
The best thing to do if you are in doubt about the quality of your eggs is to check if they are still good before using. Simply put your eggs in a pot of water. If they stay on the bottom they are fine to eat, if they float to the top they are stale. Anywhere in-between is safe to eat but getting stale.
The two messages to take from this article are to only eat eggs that sink and to always store your eggs in the fridge. Easy.