Are grade aa eggs pasteurized?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “Are grade aa eggs pasteurized?”. We will also discuss why and how eggs are pasteurized and some common questions on egg pasteurization.

Are grade aa eggs pasteurized?

Yes, grade aa eggs are pasteurized. In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires that all egg graded products be pasteurized. Being pasteurized means that they’ve been quickly heated and kept at a specific temperature for a set amount of time in order to kill microorganisms. All graded eggs you come across in a store are pasteurized.

What is pasteurization and why are eggs pasteurized?

Eggs are a high-risk food mainly because of pathogenic bacteria like Salmonella. If you eat unclean eggs, you can get seriously sick.

Pasteurization is required by law for all graded egg products sold for human consumption. This implies they must be quickly heated and kept at a safe temperature for a set period of time. This kills harmful bacteria like Salmonella but does not affect the flavor, color, or nutritional value of the eggs.

Pasteurized eggs have been partially sterilized, which eliminates the risk of food poisoning. Because acid raises the temperature at which egg yolks cook, the eggs can be heated to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (F) to kill bacteria but the eggs will not cook.

You can’t find grade aa unpasteurized eggs but there are plenty of ungraded, unpasteurized eggs in groceries and markets. These eggs are mostly available as loose eggs rather than in packed cartons.

What are grade aa eggs?

Eggs come in three different consumer grades: AA, A, and B are the grades. The egg’s inside quality as well as the appearance and condition of the eggshell define the grade. The weight of eggs of any quality grade might vary (size). Grade AA eggs are of the highest quality.  

Regardless of the grade, all graded eggs sold commercially must be pasteurized. 

How to identify pasteurized eggs from unpasteurized eggs?

From the shell, the difference between unpasteurized and pasteurized eggs is barely visible. The pasteurized eggs may have a bit of cloudiness to them. 

Pasteurized eggs usually come in labeled cartons. The carton will state the grade of the eggs and indicate that they have been pasteurized.

Can you eat unpasteurized grade aa eggs?

Yes, but it depends on how you eat the eggs. When making meals that require raw eggs, such as eggnog, dietary guidelines recommend using pasteurized eggs or egg products.

On the other hand, if you are cooking the eggs you can use both pasteurized and unpasteurized eggs. 

It is not recommended to eat unpasteurized raw eggs.

How to know if a grade aa egg has gone bad?

Both pasteurized and unpasteurized eggs can spoil. There’s a simple way to check if an egg is good by immersing it in water.

  • Fill a bowl halfway with water, enough to fully submerge an egg.
  • Place an egg gently into the water. 
  • A fresh egg will sink. The older the egg, the more likely it is to float.

Eggs grow tiny pockets of air beneath the shell as time passes, and eventually, an egg will float!

What are the pros and cons of pasteurizing eggs?


  • Pasteurized eggs are safer. There is a lower risk of developing foodborne illness. Pasteurized  eggs are a better option for pregnant women, elderly and also children.
  • Pasteurized eggs can be eaten raw and can be used in dishes such as egg-nog and caesar salad without  any fear.
  • Since the eggshells of pasteurized eggs are clean there is a lower risk of contaminating the other products in the kitchen. Overall there will be little to no risk of cross-contamination.


  • The bad news is that the eggs don’t taste particularly good. The eggy flavor you expect from an egg appears to be a bit weak. A  pinch of salt may help to bring out the flavor.
  • When pasteurized eggs are cooked, they will appear a bit mushy and not as firm as unpasteurized eggs.
  • Another issue is that pasteurized eggs are unsuitable for recipes that call for whipping egg whites to achieve stiff peaks. The ability of the proteins in the eggs to firm up is affected by the pasteurization process.

How to store pasteurized grade aa eggs?

  • Whole eggs with shells: Pasteurized in-shell grade aa eggs should be kept in the fridge and used within 3 – 5 weeks. 
  • Pasteurized egg substitutes: Refrigerate unopened pasteurized liquid egg substitutes for up to 10 days; use opened packs within three days of opening. It is not recommended to freeze egg substitutes; but, egg products bought frozen can be kept in the freezer for around one year.

Other FAQs about Eggs that you may be interested in.

Are eggs safe to eat if not refrigerated?

Can you freeze raw eggs in a casserole?

Can you eat reptile eggs?

How long after the best-before date is it safe to eat eggs?


In this brief guide, we answered the question, “Are grade aa eggs pasteurized?”. We also discussed why and how eggs are pasteurized and some common questions on egg pasteurization.


Are all egg products pasteurized?.

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