Food & Recipes

Why Americans Refrigerate Their Eggs When Other Countries Don’t

This is interesting.

When it comes to the way countries do things, America is usually the oddball. America doesn’t use the metric system, A4 paper or Celsius degrees, for example.

And something else we do differently— we refrigerate our eggs. While we aren’t the only country that does this, there are plenty of places that keep their eggs at room temperature. So, why the difference?

As NPR explains it, it all comes down to salmonella and how countries go about preventing it. European countries, for example, keep their eggs at room temp, but they vaccinate their female chickens to help prevent them from ever having the disease, making them less likely to spread it.

chicken
brookecagle/Unsplash

America and other countries, such as Japan, do not vaccinate the chickens, but they require that eggs get washed and then refrigerated.

So which method is better? Well, they both have their own set of pros and cons.

Washing eggs takes a protective layer away from the egg shell, which means bacteria could possibly sink in. So, the U.S. adds a layer of oil around the shell to prevent germs from entering as easily. But, the problem with this method is this: once you get eggs cold, you need to keep them at that temperature. Otherwise, condensation occurs, and according to the L.A. Times, that could allow salmonella to seep through the shell.

cartons
a-barth/Flickr

Not washing eggs allows the protective outer layer to remain. As far as storage goes though, keeping eggs warm means they don’t last nearly as long.

According to the same NPR article, refrigerated eggs can last around 50 days, where otherwise, they’re only good for about 21 days.

So, how do you like to store your eggs? It’s likely based on where you’re from.  While there aren’t as many storage methods as there are cooking uses for this food— there’s still quite a bit of variety involved.

[h/t: NPR]