Egg Handling, Safety and Consumption
December 14, 2022
Research food technologist Dr. Deana Jones with the ARS Egg and Poultry Production Safety Research Unit in Athens, GA, discusses what to look for when buying eggs, how to properly store eggs, and how to handle raw eggs. She shares tips and best practices on safe handling, current research being conducted, and answers your questions..
Q. What about cholesterol? Are eggs a source of bad cholesterol? Just the yolks? What should people with high cholesterol eat or not eat?
A. A large egg has approximately 185 mg cholesterol per egg. Nutritionists recommend eggs in moderation as a part of a healthy diet. The yolks do contain the cholesterol in an egg. Individuals with elevated cholesterol should consult with their medical advisors in determining the best dietary regimen for their individual needs.
Q. Is it safe to compost expired eggs? Or would they have bacteria that could harm wildlife or soil?
A. Microorganisms typically detected in eggs are found in nature. Adding eggs into a blended and diverse compost will not dramatically alter the microbiology of the compost.
Q. I heard freshly laid eggs have a naturally protective barrier to insulate the egg, so it doesn't require refrigeration. Is this true?
The last thing added to an egg as it is laid is the cuticle. This thin layer is water-based compound which also contains proteins. The cuticle naturally breaks down in the days after the egg is laid. While the cuticle is an initial barrier on the shell surface, it is not intended to be a permanent barrier. It is designed to allow for the increased respiration needs of a growing embryo. Prompt refrigeration is always key for microbial, physical, and functional quality of the egg.
- For more information about our research on egg handling and safety, visit ARS AgLab.