Eggs are also a commonly consumed food item, both in their raw form and after cooking in a variety of ways. They are a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals and can be used in a wide range of dishes.
Like butter, eggs are one of those foods that makes us wonder if they really need to be kept cold. Do eggs require refrigeration? The truth is, if you don’t refrigerate eggs, they can spoil more quickly and may become unsafe to eat.
What happens when you don’t refrigerate eggs?
Eggs are perishable and can harbor harmful bacteria such as Salmonella, which can cause foodborne illness. When eggs are left at room temperature for an extended period, this can create an environment that is conducive to bacterial growth.
What happens if you got contaminated by salmonella because of eggs?
If you become contaminated with salmonella from eggs, you may experience symptoms of salmonellosis within 12-72 hours of exposure. The symptoms typically last for 4-7 days and may include:
Nausea and vomiting
In some cases, the infection can be severe and require hospitalization, especially in people with weakened immune systems, such as young children, older adults, and those with certain medical conditions.
Eggs can become contaminated with salmonella bacteria during the laying process when the bacteria is present in the hen’s ovaries.
Contamination can also occur if the eggshell becomes contaminated with salmonella from the environment, such as through contact with contaminated animal feces or through improper handling.
How to avoid acquiring salmonella from eggs?
To prevent salmonella infection from eggs, it is important to handle eggs safely. This includes washing your hands thoroughly before and after handling eggs, storing eggs in the refrigerator at 40°F or below, and cooking eggs until both the yolk and white are firm.
Additionally, it is recommended to avoid consuming raw or undercooked eggs and to avoid foods that contain raw or undercooked eggs.
What is the ideal temperature for storing eggs?
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), eggs should be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature of 40°F (4°C) or below. This helps to slow down bacterial growth and prolong the shelf life of the eggs.
Why is important to store eggs properly?
It is important to store eggs properly because eggs are perishable food items that can spoil quickly if not handled and stored correctly. Proper storage helps to ensure that eggs stay fresh and safe to eat for as long as possible.
Here are some reasons why it is important to store eggs properly:
Prevent spoilage: Eggs are porous and can absorb odors and flavors from other foods in the refrigerator. Proper storage prevents contamination and spoilage of the eggs.
Maintain freshness: Storing eggs in their carton and keeping them at the right temperature helps to preserve their freshness and flavor.
Prevent bacterial growth: Bacteria can grow rapidly on eggs that are stored at room temperature. Proper storage in the refrigerator slows down bacterial growth, reducing the risk of foodborne illness.
Extend shelf life: Properly stored eggs can last longer than eggs that are not stored correctly. This can save money and reduce food waste.
In summary, it’s important to refrigerate eggs to keep them fresh and safe to eat. If you’re unsure whether an egg is still good, you can perform a simple test by placing it in a bowl of water. If the egg sinks to the bottom and lies flat, it is fresh. If it stands upright or floats to the surface, it is not fresh and should be discarded.