To Wash Eggs or Not to Wash Eggs


I recently found this article  and saved it for later to write about.  Today seems to be the right time to do so.

Why American Eggs Would Be Illegal in British Supermarkets and Vise Versa , from Forbes online.

It is definitely worth taking time to read even if you an experienced chicken wrangler, a foodie or just interested in food safety. Our food system is so hard to understand sometimes.   Why are there some things that are banned in other country’s food chain and not in ours?  This makes it even more confusing because what you hear might be true in Canada, but not south of the border in the good old US of A.  This article really sheds lots of light on the egg industry and what works; two completely different protocols.

In this country we often think of eggs as a vector for food borne illness.   I hear people say they are worried about farmer’s market eggs sitting there without refrigeration.   I have had social acquaintances comment that they would rather eat grocery store eggs than mine.   (Because????  Factory farms are cleaner than my little coop with my backyard chickens.)

Some of the highlights on this side of the pond and that are as follows:

  • In the UK they vaccinate all their chickens for salmonella and it is practically non-existent; in the US we generally don’t.
  • In the UK it is illegal to wash eggs, and in the US it is required.
  • In Europe eggs are store at the grocery on  a shelf near baking supplies, and the US in a refrigerated case.

I hope you will take a few minutes and read the full article it is well written and it is enlightening about the pros and cons to each.   There is no one right answer that is for sure.

I use a combination of both with my flock.   My coop and facilities are clean and my hens lay clean eggs.   I elect not to wash them and leave the natural antibacterial coating on the egg.   I store my eggs in the refrigerator, unless I plan to make hard boiled eggs.   In which case I will leave the eggs my hens laid  in a bowl on the counter for 3 or 4 days and they are still not as stale (easy to peal) as grocery store eggs.  I would never do that for eggs that I was unsure how they were handled.

It is like all foods and food borne illness know the risks and be smart in the handling and preparation of your food


10 comments on “To Wash Eggs or Not to Wash Eggs

    • I personally don’t believe there is a benefit to washing eggs. But this article shows how there are two very different camps of thought It shows why I know people who won’t accept my farm-fresh eggs because they feel they are somehow dirty.

  1. I find it amazing how people would rather eat store-bought eggs than home-raised simply for the reason that our own eggs are supposedly “dirty” and store eggs are “healthier”…pfft. I’d bet that home raised eggs have less of a risk of salmonella and the like. That and since eggs are porous, when you wash them sometimes the dirt and bacteria on the shell will end up in the egg itself. That’s how salmonella gets started in some cases, if I’m correct.
    We also usually keep our eggs on our counter in a fancy-shamncy egg skelter. It’s an awesome little slide-type device for eggs that keeps them in gathering order so you always use the oldest eggs first. 🙂

    • I surely agree with you the health environment at my house is exponentially cleaner than a factory farm. I now googleing this egg skelter because my husband loves gadgets.

      I am a non-washer and let them sit on the counter until the end of the day kind of person.

  2. Thanks for pointing out the article. Our eggs go into the fridge at the end of the day (sitting in a carton at room temp until then), unwashed. We keep clean nest boxes and collect three times a day most days so a soiled egg
    is rare.

  3. I do not wash my eggs. I leave on the counter until the carton is full, then refridgerate. Washing eggs seems so silly, since it is removing the natural barrier and just inviting bacteria in.

  4. The article was very interesting. Thanks for sharing. I tend to play it on the safe side and wash, then refrigerate my eggs, even though the eggs are clean when I pick them up.

    • I thought the article was nice in that it really let us know that there are two camps of thought. Either will work, but know what the risks are in each of them. For example if you wash you probably should not leave your eggs out on the counter. If are a non-washer you better have a health flock and clean set up. Neither is wrong, nor better than the other, but doing part of the wash process and part of the non-process probably isn’t a smart idea.

Leave a Reply to Looking Out The Window Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s