Useful and sharable resources for animal-based foods... that aren't scary. LEARN MORE.

Why do we refrigerate eggs in the US but not in Europe? Please watch for chemicals on washed US eggs.

written by

Marie Reedell

posted on

January 5, 2024

eggs-basket.jpeg

In European grocery stores, eggs are stored on shelves just like other non-perishable goods like flour and canned goods. But, in the US, EGGS are always in the refrigerated section. Why is this? Do we need to refrigerate eggs or not?

Well, there's a pretty straightforward answer. It has to do with regulations regarding salmonella and eggs.

For those who may not know, salmonella is a common bacteria and is the most common cause of food poisoning. You might ingest salmonella 100 times, and 99% of the time you are fine, but then one time you get sick. When infected and sick with salmonella, you will most likely experience diarrhea, fever, and stomach pains. If you do get sick, symptoms typically resolve on their own in 2-5 days. More serious infections that may require hospitalization occur in babies, the elderly, and those with autoimmune conditions.

Chickens in Europe are vaccinated for salmonella, and egg washing is NOT required.

The idea is that, if the chickens cannot get infected with salmonella, then neither can the eggs.

Chickens in the US are NOT required to be vaccinated for salmonella, and egg washing is required.

The idea here is that, if the chickens happen to be infected with salmonella, it would only transfer to the exterior of the eggs. So, we'll just wash it off. 

*Side note: Most conventional egg producers in the US choose to vaccinate their chickens for salmonella in addition to the required washing of eggs.

You need to refrigerate washed eggs because the protective coating called the bloom is removed.

When it's laid, an egg is naturally coated in a moist protective coating called the bloom or cuticle. This coating (mostly) seals the pores of the egg shell, preventing bacteria from penetrating the egg. When the bloom is removed, you absolutely should refrigerate those eggs. Bacteria grows more readily at higher temps and can easily get in the egg, making an egg go rotten pretty quickly.

Watch out for what eggs are washed in. There could be added chemicals and toxins.

The USDA has an extensive list of allowed sanitizing solutions, which include chlorine, ammonia, and various acids. Yuck, I don't want that in my body! If you buy eggs in a US supermarket, you can be sure they were washed. But, what they were washed in does NOT need to be disclosed and is typically NOT disclosed by the egg producer.

At Miller's we do things as naturally as possible, and that includes our eggs!

  • The chickens are 100% unvaccinated. 
  • The eggs are washed in water and only water. 
  • The chickens are pasture raised, foraging for bugs and seeds and grasses as much as the weather allows.
  • The chickens are fed a chemical-free, corn-free, and soy-free feed.

If you're looking to reduce toxins, our PASTURED CORN & SOY FREE EGGS are the way to go!

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