2

votes

Eggs in the UK are bought straight off the shelves (no refrigeration), WHY?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 25, 2012 at 5:43 PM

We were in London before Christmas and every store we went in had free range eggs and organic eggs but they were all on the regular shelf and the store was not at 40Degrees :)

We ate them, mainly because we have family that were egg farmers and they rarely refrigerated eggs as they used them fresh from the coop.

8a525a942a37c3faf3d7ee524e64e57d

(30)

on December 09, 2013
at 12:44 AM

I had the same experience as a kid, with an egg from my grandmother's farm. My mother told me not to be fussy and waste food (you know the line 'Children in the 3rd World would be so happy to have what you have') and made me eat the embryo... and I had to rush to the toilet to be sick...

In the Philippines, fertilised eggs, with the embryo well developed, are considered a delicacy, and served to children, the elderly, and sick and convalescent people. My mother isn't a Philippina, but one of my aunts is!

6fece842bd1bcf5724f458a302a2156e

(1169)

on December 08, 2013
at 12:04 PM

We don't wash eggs in the UK so they are safe unrefridgerated. I suspect we get them to market quicker than the US too as we have much shorter distances. I eat loads of eggs (at least 21 a week) and never been harmed by one in the UK.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on December 08, 2013
at 03:26 AM

Mercola just did a post on why eggs are normally stored in the refrigerator in the US, here, Americans – Why Do You Keep Refrigerating Your Eggs?

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on August 08, 2012
at 11:54 AM

fair enough. many places in sydney and wollongong fwiw

E12ead3bf63c94b5b619b03722ef554f

on August 06, 2012
at 02:40 PM

Well, I live in Melbourne for a year and most eggs were on the shelf... I don't know where you went to...?

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on August 06, 2012
at 11:35 AM

Syd.........ney

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on August 06, 2012
at 11:00 AM

Which area of Austrlia are you in? In Sydney every supermarket and many other places have their eggs in 'chilled shelves' like you say...

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on August 06, 2012
at 10:59 AM

fyi, eggs are refigerated in all supermarkets I've been to (and a fair few other places too) here in Austrlia

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on August 06, 2012
at 12:48 AM

Indeed. Remember that I was quoting from Chowhound, lol!

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on August 05, 2012
at 11:18 PM

"Feces will get on the outside of eggs (completely unavoidable, eggs come out near where the birds poo from)" -- It *is* where birds defecate from; the cloaca is the opening through which birds urinate, defecate, and do reproductive actions.

C0d44d0c62dcf60e8a80ae21411ddeb9

(370)

on August 05, 2012
at 10:56 PM

eggs are not "alive"!

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on August 05, 2012
at 10:41 PM

Heh. That's a very good point about the chicken fetus development - my father once got a fresh egg that had been fertilized and developed too far. It was pretty gross. Put him off eggs for a week.

F15e0bae42dbf0b8cfc71e62902497b4

(2036)

on January 26, 2012
at 07:32 AM

you totally nailed it!

Ab19df3ededa28f7bf7daeba8435b205

(1471)

on January 26, 2012
at 12:29 AM

Matthew, we do so much WRONG to our foods in the US...you will be amazed...if refrigerating eggs rocks your socks!

Ab19df3ededa28f7bf7daeba8435b205

(1471)

on January 26, 2012
at 12:28 AM

CUT from Dragonfly's comment Eggs will keep longer if you don't wash them until the point of use, but they are less aesthetically pleasing, so most people will give eggs they get from their own chickens a rinse off before storing. Eggs that are mass produced are washed then coated with a thin layer that replaces the natural coating that washing them removes. For more Paleo hacks: http://paleohacks.com/questions/92751/eggs-in-the-uk-are-bought-straight-off-the-shelves-no-refrigeration-why#ixzz1kWHBbhTm

Ab19df3ededa28f7bf7daeba8435b205

(1471)

on January 26, 2012
at 12:27 AM

upon reading I have found that there is a protective layer that gets washed off. much like when eggs are boiled they layer is removed and the pores of the egg are more apt to bring in bacteria

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on January 25, 2012
at 11:53 PM

Eggs keep perfectly well at room temperature. I have never heard of a protective film on eggs and my family has kept chickens for years. Our eggs usually have a protective layer of chicken poo on them.

Ab19df3ededa28f7bf7daeba8435b205

(1471)

on January 25, 2012
at 10:11 PM

I dont know where everyone is from but here in the US we put eggs in the refridgerator (40 degrees) as our eggs have been washed and mechinaically candled for problems and i guess some times pastureized which takes off teh protective film. or were you guys being funny and joking?

C4134ed417dbc0a6b79ab2cee32632d3

(1801)

on January 25, 2012
at 09:46 PM

No, eggs in the UK are not washed... I can guarantee that when I buy eggs and there're still feathers and chicken shit on them ;-)

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 25, 2012
at 08:50 PM

That's what they told me when I did my first grocery run in Edinburgh, and stood there perplexed in front of the egg display in Tesco (apparently a dead giveaway that you're from the US or Canada).

35a8b223ae5d863f17a8c9e3a8eed5eb

(571)

on January 25, 2012
at 08:50 PM

what do you guys mean by refrigerate? I'm confused to say the least. Freezer?? Fridge? I don't get it, lol. I've never heard of it before.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on January 25, 2012
at 08:20 PM

Not MY attitude--it was a comment from Chowhound!

D07a525f9021f8d72bf6aaa52893c795

(1011)

on January 25, 2012
at 07:12 PM

Great answer! I would only quibble with your attitude to fats!

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on January 25, 2012
at 06:28 PM

Follow up question: Once hard boiled, do they need refridgeration?

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on January 25, 2012
at 06:27 PM

+1 for a bloody long answer that is both readable and interesting.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on January 25, 2012
at 06:22 PM

Why would anyone refrigerate eggs?

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12 Answers

22
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on January 25, 2012
at 05:48 PM

We don't refrigerate our eggs. In fact, when we buy them from the Farmer's Market, they have never been refrigerated at all.

The shells are sufficient protection--generally from 2-3 weeks, depending on the quality of the chicken's diet.

According to my chef husband, there is actually some debate as to whether refrigeration actually makes them last longer.

There's a discussion on Chowhound on the topic.


Here's a comment from the discussion: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/602589

"The short answer to your question is that eggs do not need to be refrigerated, and keep for a surprisingly long time without refrigeration. The reason for the rules in the US is we are a much more litigious culture than most places in Europe.

Here's the long answer: Eggs are only dangerous if the chicken that laid the egg was sick with an illness that would pass on inside the egg itself. Healthy chickens do not produce unhealthy eggs.

The inside of an egg that has no cracks is a sterile environment, and the shell protects it from microbes. Over time, the innards will eventually break down because of the natural action of enzymes and proteins and such getting old, but that's not the same as microbial infection.

Feces will get on the outside of eggs (completely unavoidable, eggs come out near where the birds poo from), and there are bacteria that live in feces of all animals and humans, some of which can grow and become harmful. So it's important that eggs get washed before use, to keep the yuck from getting into whatever you're cooking when you -break the egg-.

Eggs will keep longer if you don't wash them until the point of use, but they are less aesthetically pleasing, so most people will give eggs they get from their own chickens a rinse off before storing. Eggs that are mass produced are washed then coated with a thin layer that replaces the natural coating that washing them removes.

Any eggs from a healthy bird will keep for a good while and be perfectly edible being stored on the counter instead of the fridge. If you have chickens of your own or you buy smaller quantities of fresh eggs at the market two or three times a week, and use them up in that time, then there's no reason to store them in the fridge.

The vast majority of birds in the large, mass produced egg facilities are healthy birds. Overall the rate of actual contamination in eggs is very very low, and usually only constitutes a small threat to the elderly, young children, or adults with compromised immune systems. Healthy older children, teens, and adults have little to fear from the egg supply in the US.

You can reduce even further any possible threat by simply buying your eggs from local farmers who have healthy flocks. Or raising your own! The eggs are less handled, are fresher, probably taste better, and will last longer than the mass-produced eggs you get at, say, Costco. They are, however, a fair bit more expensive, to boot.

Quoting the CDC on salmonella in eggs (http://www.cdc.gov/NCIDOD/DBMD/DISEAS...): Most types of Salmonella live in the intestinal tracts of animals and birds and are transmitted to humans by contaminated foods of animal origin. Stringent procedures for cleaning and inspecting eggs were implemented in the 1970s and have made salmonellosis caused by external fecal contamination of egg shells extremely rare.

However, unlike eggborne salmonellosis of past decades, the current epidemic is due to intact and disinfected grade A eggs. The reason for this is that Salmonella enteritidis silently infects the ovaries of healthy appearing hens and contaminates the eggs before the shells are formed.

Although most infected hens have been found in the northeastern United States, the infection also occurs in hens in other areas of the country. In the Northeast, approximately one in 10,000 eggs may be internally contaminated. In other parts of the United States, contaminated eggs appear less common. Only a small number of hens seem to be infected at any given time, and an infected hen can lay many normal eggs while only occasionally laying an egg contaminated with the Salmonella bacterium. {end quote } The operative word here is "MAY be infected". One egg in every 10,000 in the North East (I live in the North East) is a very small occurrence rate. I am a healthy adult with no immunity issues, so I have no problem having the occasional soft-boiled egg or over easy egg. However, I usually use egg substitute when making egg nog just because I want to reduce my fat intake and I'm just looking for the protein. :)

Hope this helps put some perspective on this issue for you."

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on January 25, 2012
at 06:27 PM

+1 for a bloody long answer that is both readable and interesting.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on January 25, 2012
at 08:20 PM

Not MY attitude--it was a comment from Chowhound!

D07a525f9021f8d72bf6aaa52893c795

(1011)

on January 25, 2012
at 07:12 PM

Great answer! I would only quibble with your attitude to fats!

F15e0bae42dbf0b8cfc71e62902497b4

(2036)

on January 26, 2012
at 07:32 AM

you totally nailed it!

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on August 05, 2012
at 11:18 PM

"Feces will get on the outside of eggs (completely unavoidable, eggs come out near where the birds poo from)" -- It *is* where birds defecate from; the cloaca is the opening through which birds urinate, defecate, and do reproductive actions.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on August 06, 2012
at 12:48 AM

Indeed. Remember that I was quoting from Chowhound, lol!

7
D98930055114f72d5f3dcf3eec9d137e

on January 25, 2012
at 06:36 PM

It's is actually illegal to sell a washed egg in the UK

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 25, 2012
at 08:50 PM

That's what they told me when I did my first grocery run in Edinburgh, and stood there perplexed in front of the egg display in Tesco (apparently a dead giveaway that you're from the US or Canada).

5
A994080d499afca98cdc9de896701ebd

on January 25, 2012
at 07:36 PM

I'm from Germany and I was so confused by that fact when I was living in Canada for a year after high school...I've never seen eggs being refrigerated before! My mom always buys them at the market or at our butcher. Even in the normal supermarkets the eggs are at room temperature.

My canadian roommate was so freaked out by that fact. She told me that it's dangerous because of the salmonella. Of course there would be salmonella in every egg if it's not regrigerated.

But I get it, I mean, that's just the way she was brought up. Use canola oil as much as you can; animal fat is really bad and clogs your arteries (it's actually solid at room temperature, so it makes sense, right?); you do need to drink gatorade when you exercise, otherwise you faint; kraft dinner is totally fine because everyone eats it.

Of course, I wouldn't leave normal canadian store-bought eggs on the counter. Who knows, they might have salmonella...

3
778b36f4f699f202de135ef176fe9ab7

on January 25, 2012
at 06:02 PM

Here is a great article on Mother Earth News that talks about several different preservation attempts, including nothing (i.e. just sitting at room temp). It's a good article, if you have time to read it. Here is the explanation they gave for why the eggs last at room temp so long...

"Unwashed, fertile homestead eggs seem to store much better than washed, unfertile agribiz eggs. Why? Probably for the simple reason that they're unwashed ... and not because they're fertile. Hen fruit, as it comes from the chicken, is coated with a light layer of a natural sealing agent called "bloom". And, while a good wash may make a batch of eggs look more attractive, it also removes this natural protective coating ... leaving the eggs more subject to aging and attack by the air and bacteria in the air."

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Sustainable-Farming/1977-11-01/Fresh-Eggs.aspx?page=3#ixzz1kUhnMslx

We have farm fresh eggs at home, and it's nothing for my husband to leave them on the step for a week. We have never become ill, and the eggs taste so much better than store bought :)

3
37afdfbfbd7a4ce3c833dff8fe66003c

on January 25, 2012
at 05:57 PM

I've actually been trying to track down the proper citations for this for work.

Cook's Illustrated stated - in their authoritative way - that the reason eggs in Europe are sold out of refrigeration is because they are not washed prior to sale. This preserves a coating on the shell that American eggs lose when they're washed. The Irish Egg Board has some stuff on their site that backs this up but I haven't been able to independently verify it with a scientific paper or anything like that.

C4134ed417dbc0a6b79ab2cee32632d3

(1801)

on January 25, 2012
at 09:46 PM

No, eggs in the UK are not washed... I can guarantee that when I buy eggs and there're still feathers and chicken shit on them ;-)

1
E12ead3bf63c94b5b619b03722ef554f

on August 06, 2012
at 07:39 AM

It is actually almost only in the USA and Canada that eggs are all refrigerated. Mostly because the shell is washed, eliminating its natural protective film that allows it to keep for weeks at room temperature.

In Australia, Europe and South America, eggs are NOT refrigerated.

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on August 06, 2012
at 10:59 AM

fyi, eggs are refigerated in all supermarkets I've been to (and a fair few other places too) here in Austrlia

E12ead3bf63c94b5b619b03722ef554f

on August 06, 2012
at 02:40 PM

Well, I live in Melbourne for a year and most eggs were on the shelf... I don't know where you went to...?

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on August 08, 2012
at 11:54 AM

fair enough. many places in sydney and wollongong fwiw

1
69c0d300c2bab0ab6f161be8d6b7d5a9

on August 05, 2012
at 10:36 PM

The practice originated with farmers who kept mixed flocks of hens with small amounts of roosters (to keep the flocks safer and greatly reduce fighting among hens which would otherwise increase losses). The refrigeration would stop the eggs which were fertile from developing any sort of embryos, which would render them to be considered inedible, and it was thought that cold temperatures had the same effect on eggs as meat, in fact making them last much longer.

This method of storage spread until it was adopted by food authorities as a method to quench fears of illness and it has of course remained the standard.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on August 05, 2012
at 10:41 PM

Heh. That's a very good point about the chicken fetus development - my father once got a fresh egg that had been fertilized and developed too far. It was pretty gross. Put him off eggs for a week.

1
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 25, 2012
at 06:57 PM

Like all things, unless you produced/harvested the product, you don't know quality of said product. Better to take unnecessary (and benign) precautions (like refrigeration) than to ever suffer a bout of food-borne illness.

0
543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on January 28, 2012
at 09:30 AM

in Australia the eggs are mostly stored on the shelves as well. although i have seen them stored on 'chilled shelves' as well in some stores.
the eggs i buy come with chicken poo at no extra cost.

a tip i use to check if an egg has gone bad; drop in in water,
if it sinks it is good, if it floats it is bad
(this works for chicken eggs & i would assume it's the same for all bird eggs?)

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on August 06, 2012
at 11:35 AM

Syd.........ney

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on August 06, 2012
at 11:00 AM

Which area of Austrlia are you in? In Sydney every supermarket and many other places have their eggs in 'chilled shelves' like you say...

0
Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

on January 25, 2012
at 08:39 PM

im pretty sure that eggs are still living. cold slows metabolic processes. they are not going to rot at room temp for a very long time.

C0d44d0c62dcf60e8a80ae21411ddeb9

(370)

on August 05, 2012
at 10:56 PM

eggs are not "alive"!

0
D07a525f9021f8d72bf6aaa52893c795

(1011)

on January 25, 2012
at 07:08 PM

Fresh eggs should not be refrigerated - has to do with denaturing enzymes.

If you decide to pasteurise your eggs, you should then refrigerate, apparently.

0
3558d8feb56bc681144f87e67140f885

on January 25, 2012
at 05:52 PM

We don't refrigerate our eggs at all.. We buy (I think) 120 at a time and they live on a spot on the counter... They're not refrigerated at the store either. :-)

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