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The Myth About Fresh Eggs

There isn’t much doubt that many people who purchase eggs at grocery stores in the United States believe that they are getting fresh eggs. By fresh, we’re talking about eggs that were laid less than a week earlier. However, the idea that the eggs are fresh is a myth. It makes no difference if they are labeled as fresh or not, either.

By law, in the US, once commercial chicken eggs are put in cartons, they must be shipped to sellers within one month. That is already well longer than ‘fresh’. There is no law that dictates how soon after they’ve been laid that they must be put into cartons. This means that the eggs can be considerably older before they are put in cartons and this doesn’t violate the law.

That is just the length of time between the time that they were laid and the time the eggs get to the store, too. A lot of eggs are sold in stores, so stores commonly order extra eggs, beyond the number they expect to sell in a reasonable amount of time. The stores don’t want to run out of eggs, which would result in upset customers. This means that some of the eggs that are already at the store may have been in a cold room for a couple of weeks.

The bottom line is that ‘fresh eggs’ at a store could easily be two and a half months old or older and commonly are.

The good news is that eggs don’t perish easily. With proper care, eggs that are four months old can still be perfectly edible. If they are kept cold and in a low moisture environment, eggs last a long time.

However, don’t be tricked into thinking that eggs at the store, even those labeled fresh, really are. The only way you can be assured of getting fresh eggs is if you have your own laying hens or know someone who does and who will sell you the eggs. Even egg cartons that are stamped with an expiration date, and not all of them are, won’t give you a good idea when the eggs were laid, only when they were put into cartons.

The notion of store-bought fresh eggs is a false myth. I can say with certainty, though, that the eggs I get from our chickens really are fresh.

  • Were you aware that stores rarely, if ever, sell honestly fresh eggs?

    • Yes
    • No
    • I don’t buy eggs at the store
    • I don’t eat eggs

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Written by Rex Trulove

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