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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BHNRC) » Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center » Nutrient Data Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #276838

Title: Cholesterol and vitamin D content of eggs in the U.S. retail market

item PHILLIPS, KATHERINE - Virginia Polytechnic Institution & State University
item Exler, Jacob
item Patterson, Kristine
item Holden, Joanne

Submitted to: Journal of Food Composition and Analysis
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/9/2012
Publication Date: 2/16/2013
Citation: Phillips, K.M., Exler, J., Patterson, K.K., Holden, J.M. 2013. Cholesterol and vitamin D content of eggs in the U.S. retail market. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. 29(2013):110-116.

Interpretive Summary: Retail cartons of whole large eggs were obtained in 2000-2001 and 2010 from a nationwide sampling of supermarkets from 12 locations across the U.S. The average cholesterol content of the eggs in the 2010 study (372 mg/100g) was 12% lower than that from the 2000-2001 study. The vitamin D3 content for eggs from the 2010 study (2.05 µg [82 IU]/100g) was 64% higher than in the previous study. The current study also found eggs to have 0.65 µg 25-OH-D3 per 100g. The new cholesterol and vitamin D3 values were reported in release 23 of the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, and support food consumption surveys, food and nutrition policy, and consumer education.

Technical Abstract: Nationwide sampling in the U.S. of whole large eggs, to update values in the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (SR) (, was conducted in 2000-2001 and again in 2010. Retail cartons of large eggs were obtained from 12 supermarket locations using statistical sampling plans based on market share and census data. Cholesterol was analyzed at three laboratories using standard methods involving gas chromatography of the saponified total lipid extract. Vitamin D3 and 25-OH-vitamin D3(2010 samples only) were analyzed by HPLC and UHPLC-MS/MS. Quality control materials were included to validate the accuracy and precision of measurements. The mean cholesterol content decreased from 423 mg/100g in 2000-2001 to 372 mg/100g in 2010 (12%; 2010 range 344-405). Over the same period, average vitamin D3 increased by 64%, to 2.05 µg [82 IU]/100g (range, 0.97-9.2). Samples from 2010 contained 0.43-1.32 µg 25-OH-D3 per 100g (mean 0.65). The wide range of vitamin D (and cholesterol) in eggs from different locations may reflect industry efforts to modify poultry feed or supplements to affect the nutrient profile of eggs.