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How Long Do Fresh Eggs Keep in the Refrigerator?

how-long-do-fresh-eaggs-keep-refrigerator

ANSWER:

Fresh eggs keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 5 weeks.

Raw Eggs in Shell: 3-5 weeks

Raw Eggs Out of Shell: 3-5 days

Hard-Boiled Eggs: 1 week

Egg Substitute (open container): 3 days

Egg Substitute (sealed container): 10 days

 

How to Properly Store Eggs

The majority of the eggs purchased in the United States are refrigerated, thus they should be placed back into an environment that is approximately 40 degrees Fahrenheit as soon after purchase as possible. It is best to leave them in the container that they are purchased in and stored in the coolest part of the refrigerator. The egg storage device in a refrigerator door may look convenient, but in reality, the door is much too warm a location for storing eggs. Eggs are naturally created with a protective coating that protects the egg from bacteria entering through the shell. To keep eggs as fresh as possible, do not wash; this is inviting bacteria to invade. For this reason, hard-boiled eggs are only fresh for a week after cooking.

What Happens If I Don’t Refrigerate My Eggs?

Eating unrefrigerated or undercooked eggs can cause Salmonella Enteritidis, a serious foodborne illness that can bring on fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea.  It usually occurs 12-72 hours after ingestion and can last 4-7 days.  In some cases, the diarrhea is severe enough to require hospitalization.

According to the CDC, egg associated salmonellosis is a serious public health problem in the US.  If an egg is infected with Salmonella Enteritidis, the bacteria will quickly multiply if the eggs are not refrigerated.  Fully cooking an egg will also keep the bacteria in check, which is why it is important to refrain from eating raw eggs.

http://www.cdc.gov/media/matte/2010/09_eggsafety.pdf

How to Test an Egg’s Freshness

Most eggs sold in the grocery store are likely to have a use-by date stamped onto the carton. It is possible for eggs that have been properly handled to remain viable past this date. A quick test can tell if an egg is past its prime. Just carefully drop an egg into a cup that contains enough water to cover the egg. If the egg sinks to the bottom, it is still good. Old eggs will float to the top of the cup and these eggs should not be eaten. Eggs that are a couple of weeks old should be used for recipes and scrambled eggs, while poached eggs that require firm whites are best made from fresh eggs.

 

Resources

Bradley, Francine, and Annie King. “Egg Basics for the Consumer: Packaging, Storage, and Nutritional Information.” University of California Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources. University of California, n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2010. <anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/pdf/8154.pdf>.

“Facts about Eggs and Food Safety.” College of Agriculture and Life Sciences homepage. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2010. http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/health/foodsafety/az1077.html.

“How Long Can You Keep Hard-Boiled Eggs?.” NetWellness. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2010. http://www.netwellness.uc.edu/healthtopics/poison/hardboiledeggs.cfm.

“Breakfast or Anytime: How to Enjoy Eggs Safely.” Centers for Disease Control. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Apr. 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/media/matte/2010/09_eggsafety.pdf>.

 

Expert Opinion

“ If you want to make a recipe that calls for raw beaten eggs or egg whites, fear not! You have a few options here. Egg substitutes are pasteurized, which means they’re rapidly heated at a certain temperature for a certain amount of time to destroy any salmonella. Dried egg whites are pasteurized by being heat-treated in their dried form. Pasteurized whole eggs are also available at some supermarkets.”

Elaine Magee, MPH, RD  Egg Safety Tips/WebMD

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