Egg Industry - March 2018 - 18
18 ❙ EggIndustry
Refrigerated eggs versus
shelves: Is one method safer?
Egg refrigeration, or lack thereof, can cause great surprise to
consumers used to one approach or the other, so why do we have
two different approaches to selling eggs?
DR VINCENT GUYONNET
If you have traveled overseas and visited with an interested eye the local grocery
stores and food markets, have you ever
wondered why some countries, mainly the
U.S. and Canada, sell eggs under refrigeration, while most other countries sell them
on regular shelves?
A key principle from the Codex
Alimentarius, the grouping of food stanGuyonnet
dards adopted by the FAO/WHO's Codex
Alimentarius Committee, is that "from
primary production to the point of consumption, eggs
should be subject to effective and validated control measures intended to achieve the appropriate level of public
stage of the egg formation, to continue to play its role as
a protective barrier throughout the life of the egg.
In a very few countries, the eggs are kept under refrigeration, starting often right on the farms. Eggs will then
be washed at warm temperatures, blow dried, packed and
kept under refrigeration all the way to the shelves of the
stores. When refrigerated, eggs are more sensitive to temperature fluctuations and will "sweat" quickly if exposed
to warmer temperatures, increasing the potential risk of
bacterial contamination through the eggshell or the development of fungus or mildew on the shell.
So, is one method safer than the other?
Which is best?
A review of recent data from the United States
Interestingly, under this same
principle of food safety, two camps
have been created and have adopted
In most of the world, eggs are not
refrigerated throughout the distribution channel and sold in stores as
non-refrigerated items usually next
to baking goods. Along with that, the
washing of eggs on farms or in egg
packing stations is not permitted. This
allows for the cuticle, a fine coating
deposited by the hen during the last
Washed eggs become more sensitive to temperature fluctuations
and must be kept at low temperatures to prevent bacterial
contamination. Dr. Vincent Guyonnet
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ March 2018