Are eggs safe to eat if not refrigerated?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question, “Are eggs safe to eat if not refrigerated?”. We will discuss in-depth why eggs are sometimes refrigerated. We will also look at the potential risks of eating unrefrigerated eggs.

Are eggs safe to eat if not refrigerated?

Yes, it is safe to eat eggs that are not refrigerated, given that the unrefrigerated eggs have not been sterilized or cleaned. Some countries do not refrigerate eggs at all. 

Why are eggs refrigerated in some countries and not in others?

Salmonella is the main reason for treating and refrigerating eggs. 

Salmonella can spread either internally or externally. Internally, if the hen herself carried Salmonella and the microbes were transmitted into the egg before the eggshell formed, or externally, if bacteria pierce the eggshell, an egg can be infected with Salmonella.

To avoid Salmonella outbreaks from infected eggs, proper handling, storage, and boiling are required.

Salmonella cannot thrive at temperatures below 40°F (4°C), therefore boiling eggs to a minimum (71°C) eliminates any bacteria present.

Because the treatment for Salmonella differs by nation, refrigerating eggs may indeed be necessary for certain areas but not in others.

Why are eggs usually refrigerated in the USA?

Salmonella is often treated externally in the United States. Australia and Japan are among the countries that handle eggs in the same manner.

Sterilization is performed on eggs before they are sold. They’re cleaned with hot water and soap and disinfected, killing any microbes on the shell.

The egg’s cuticle, a thin covering on the shell that protects it, may be removed during the washing procedure. The microbes found on eggshells are effectively killed with this procedure. It does nothing, however, to eliminate bacteria that may be existing inside the egg, which is usually the cause of illness.

If the cuticle is destroyed, any bacteria that make contact with the eggs after it has been sterilized will have an easier time penetrating the shell and contaminating the contents.

While chilling does not destroy bacteria, it does lower the number of bacteria in your food, lowering your risk of illness. It also prevents bacteria from reaching the shell of the egg.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates commercial eggs to be at 40 °F or below to keep bacteria to a minimum. If eggs are chilled, they should be kept cold to avoid condensation if they heat up. Bacteria can have an easier time penetrating the shell because of the wetness.

As a result, any eggs produced commercially in the United States must be kept in the refrigerator. So if you purchase eggs in a country where it is indicated in the carton to refrigerate the eggs, you must do so.

Why are eggs not refrigerated in some countries?

Most European countries do not require refrigerating raw eggs, and many have improved cleanliness and immunized hens for Salmonella to prevent infection. In the European Union, washing and cleaning eggs is prohibited.

The cuticle and shell of the egg are left unharmed, acting as a barrier against microorganisms.

Egg whites, also, have inbuilt antibacterial defenses that can help safeguard the egg for about 3 weeks.

As a result, much of Europe considers it unnecessary to refrigerate eggs. These unrefrigerated eggs are completely safe to eat.

What are the benefits of refrigerating eggs?

Refrigerating eggs will increase their shelf-life and also protect the eggs during storage.

  • Longer shelf life: While a fresh egg kept at room temperature will lose quality after a few days and should be used within 1–3 weeks, eggs stored in the refrigerator will keep their freshness and quality for at least twice as long.
  • Safe from contamination and breaking: Eggs kept in a fridge will be safe from contamination from dust and other household chemicals. There is also a lower risk of the eggs getting cracked and damaged.

Are there any risks of refrigerating eggs?

No, but once eggs are refrigerated, they must always be kept in a chilled condition. You cannot store once refrigerated eggs at room temperature.

There are a few disadvantages of refrigerating eggs such as:

  • Cold eggs are not suitable for baking: For baking, room temperature eggs are preferable. As a result, some people recommend allowing refrigerated eggs to get to ambient temperature before using them. Leaving eggs at an ambient temperature for up to 2 hours is regarded as safe.
  • Eggs might absorb scents and taste from other products in your fridge.

This can be avoided by preserving eggs in their cartons and sealing goods with strong scents in airtight containers.

Other FAQs about Eggs that you may be interested in.

Are eggs safe to eat when pregnant?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question, “Are eggs safe to eat if not refrigerated?”. We discussed in-depth why eggs are sometimes refrigerated. We also looked at the potential risks of eating unrefrigerated eggs.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.

References

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/should-you-refrigerate-eggs#bottom-line

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.