Is it safe to use expired eggs?
All over the world, eggs are a nutritious and delicious food. But although it is an affordable and healthy food for many, the question remains: can you eat expired eggs?
If you’ve left a box in the fridge or on the counter for a few weeks, you may wonder if your eggs have gone bad. It’s true that keeping them in the fridge helps extend their shelf life, but how do you know if your eggs have expired?
There are several ways to tell if your eggs have expired. Here are some telltale signs:
- Bad smell. If you notice that the eggs have a sulfur smell, do not eat them.
- Look at the expiration date. Anything after a month should probably be thrown away.
- Take a good look at your egg. If it’s cracked, slimy, or has a powdery residue, it’s full of bacteria and you shouldn’t eat it.
- Shake the egg. If there seems to be a lot of liquid pouring around, your egg may not be the freshest. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s broken
After all, the only really sure way to know if expired eggs are safe to eat is to crack open one and check for spoilage. Of course, if it has spoiled, it should not be eaten. Salmonella and other bacteria can cause foodborne illness with some serious consequences.
But since the terms of packaging and methods of storing eggs are very ambiguous, eggs with a technical expiration date cannot be rotten and infected with bacteria.
How long do eggs last?
Eggs keep for 3 to 5 weeks in the refrigerator and have a longer shelf life than other perishable proteins such as milk or meat. However, you don’t always know how long your eggs have been sitting on the supermarket shelf and how long they’ve been there.
Advice on how to extend the freshness of eggs
- When you get home, put them in the refrigerator – at a higher temperature, they will spoil faster.
- Check the dates – some labels may have a “best by” date, which is a looser choice, while others have a “use by” date. You can also find the date on the package, which will tell you how much time you have left.
3. If you are unsure of the date, even if the eggs are not spoiled, cook them to a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit to help you avoid foodborne illness.
4. Do not wash the eggs. Many people think that washing eggs can help remove bacteria, but actually the opposite is true – once the egg has been washed, bacteria are more likely to be transferred from the outside of the shell to the inside.
5. Do a water analysis. Fill a bowl with cold water and place the egg inside – if it sinks, your egg is safe. If it floats, maybe its time has passed.
6. Do the egg lighting test. You can perform this test using a dark room and a small, concentrated light source. Hold the light source up to the egg and tilt it from left to right to see the contents of the egg. If you see a large air pocket, it may be spoiled.
What to do if you ate an expired egg
You may notice signs of ova in symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, headaches, and seizures. In a healthy person, you should get better in a few days, but the much younger, much older, and people with compromised immune systems should seek medical attention.
If you have eaten moldy eggs, you may develop a rash, runny nose, itchy skin, or wheezing. Be sure to hydrate with water, ginger ale, and sports drinks, which can help replenish electrolytes.
Who should avoid expired eggs?
Anyone with a weakened immune system, young children, and the elderly are at greater risk of contracting salmonella and other foodborne illnesses. If you are at higher risk, consider buying pasteurized eggs. Pasteurized eggs are heated in warm water, which kills bacteria on the outside of the shell without cooking the egg inside. These eggs are also safer to use in recipes that call for raw eggs, such as hollandaise sauce or Caesar dressing.
Ultimately, you have to go with your gut, and if something tastes or smells bad, it’s best to throw the box away. But one of the reasons we love eggs is that they last a long time, so if they’ve been sitting there for a couple of weeks, don’t worry!