For most living in the United States, washed, refrigerated eggs are the norm and are actually considered safer by most people. What if I told you that’s not how most of the world does it? What if I told you that it’s actually safer to leave them unwashed and unchilled?
It’s actually unlawful in Europe to wash eggs and there’s good reason for it.
I live in Mexico and one of the first things I noticed at the grocery stores here is that they do not refrigerate the eggs. They’re sold on a shelf with dry goods generally, like sugar or canned milk products. There are many options from tiny spotted ones to big brown ones, but they’re unwashed and unchilled.
There’s much less regulation on the egg industry here, even though factory farming exists here as well. The eggs I buy from Walmart are unwashed and unchilled, coming in irregular shapes and sizes with little bits of feather here and there. This is the norm here and it’s the better way to do things.
The FDA cites that eggs need to be sterilized and chilled to reduce the chance of salmonella making its way into the eggs. Many sources online will tell you that it actually has to do with the way factory farming is done in the states.
Though it has less to do with the factory farming itself, but more with how they go about it. Europe has placed an emphasis on producing cleaner eggs that just do not need to be washed, whereas American chicken factory farms are known for being filthy at best.
Much of the world is very similar to Mexico and Europe in that their eggs are not refrigerated either. With the way they farm and process eggs, they really don’t have issues with sickness related to the eggs, certainly not anymore than in the states.
After living in Mexico for more than a year, I can say the eggs are not lower quality and they’re actually much cheaper and higher quality. There’s something charming about opening a dozen of store-bought eggs to find a feather stuck to one or even a spot of mud, in my opinion.
For those living in the states, don’t go pulling the eggs out of your refrigerator. Doing that could actually cause problems and make it so you actually get sick. With the cuticle washed off and the egg shocked back to room temperature, it’s easy for bacteria to move through the porous shell.
Luckily, you’ve got options for solutions to this problem:
Find a farmer that doesn’t wash or chill their eggs, and keep them that way once they’re home. Get some chickens and produce your own, keeping them unwashed and unchilled. Or you could move to a place like Mexico, where keeping eggs au natural is the normal way to do things. Regardless of how you handle it, what’s important is that you are aware of the situation. Eggs are not meant to be washed or chilled before storage! If you buy them chilled they need to remain that way, the only way is to find an alternate source
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