How to tell if eggs are bad and associated health risks

Although properly stored eggs have a decent ledge life, they can finally spoil. however, there are several dim-witted ways to check whether an egg is calm estimable to eat. Eggs are a good reference of protein and early all-important nutrients. In this article, we look at some aboveboard ways to tell whether an egg is safe to eat or not. We besides discuss how farseeing they stay fresh, whether to refrigerate them, and the health risks of eating a bad egg.

Float test

Farm eggs in a bowl with a pink background parcel on Pinterestpagan Mckenzie/Stocksy The float examination is a immediate and easy way to check the freshness of an egg. While it does not determine whether an egg has gone bad, it provides a utilitarian indication of the old age of an testis. To perform the float examination, station the egg in a large bowl of water. If it sinks or stays at the bottom, it is still fresh. An older egg will either stand on its end or air bladder. The float test works because air builds up inside the egg as it ages, increasing its irrepressibility. however, an testis that floats may still be condom to eat, according to the United States Department of Agriculture ( USDA ). A person can further test the testis by cracking it open to smell and checking it for visible signs of contamination.

Smell test

One of the simplest and most authentic ways to tell whether an egg has gone bad is to smell it. A bad egg will give off a clog smell when a person cracks the shell candid, according to the USDA. This smell will be present even if person has already cooked the egg. In some cases, when an testis is very honest-to-god or rotten, individuals can smell the foul smell before cracking it open. People should throw out any eggs that give off a foul or unpleasant olfactory property. As this test is very authentic, it is a good theme to smell every testis before using it.

Visual inspection

sometimes an egg will look or feel off. A person should check for signs of possible contamination or putrescence. People should discard eggs with any of the play along characteristics :

  • cracks in the shell
  • a powdery substance on the shell
  • a shell that looks or feels slimy

Eggs with crack or slimed shells may have become contaminated with bacteria, while a powdery substance on the shell can be a sign of mold. If the blast is entire with no obvious signs of damage, contamination, or foul smell, a person should do a second ocular match after cracking the egg open. They should discard eggs with any unusual discoloration inside, such as a pink, changeable, or green egg white or egg yolk. however, eggs that develop a fleeceable surround on the hard-cooked yolk after cooking are safe to eat, according to the USDA. The green color is frequently due to overcooking or high iron content in the cook water system. An egg white or egg yolk that is runnier than usual can besides indicate that an egg is past its prime. While this does not inevitably mean it is insecure to eat, it can affect its taste and cook properties. Before purchasing them, a person should do a quick ocular interrogation of the eggs in the carton. If any are cracked or leaking, choose a different pack .

People who keep eggs in the original carton can besides check for an passing date to see whether they are silent safe to eat. however, the information on the carton can sometimes be a little confusing. According to the USDA, the United States federal government does not require producers to print the termination or sell-by date on egg cartons. however, some states require this information. If an egg producer chooses to include an exhalation date, it must be in month/day format and follow an appropriate prefix, such as “ Exp., ” “ Sell by, ” and “ not to be sold after the date at the end of the carton. ”

however, producers must include the clique date on all cartons of USDA-graded eggs. A pack date is a three-digit number representing the day of the year when the producer washed, graded, and packed the eggs. For case, a pack date of 001 is January 1, and a clique date of 365 is December 31. If a manufacturer of USDA-graded eggs chooses to include an exhalation date, it must be no more than 30 days after the pack date. People can keep eggs in the refrigerator for 3–5 weeks. even though the sell-by date may expire during that meter, they may placid be safe to eat. To keep them safe, a person should place them inside the refrigerator immediately after buy. The refrigerator temperature should be 40°F ( 4°C ), and people should place eggs in the coldest spot of the refrigerator preferably than in the doorway .


Candling is a proficiency that producers use to inspect the quality of an egg. It involves using a bright light to examine eggs for signs of cracking and inside defects. egg producers generally use automated conveyer belts and mechanical sensors to check large numbers of eggs quickly and efficiently. however, a person can besides perform candling at home by holding an egg up to a brilliantly light, such as a herculean flashlight or lamp, in a darkened board. As with the float screen, candling only checks the freshness of the egg. It will not confirm whether it is distillery safe to eat. When they hold the egg up to the light, a person should be able to see the air cell inside it. The air cell is a little sac or house of cards that is normally stage in the larger end of the egg. According to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, the egg is placid fresh if the cellular telephone is less than one-eighth of an edge thick. The larger the air theca, the older the egg.

How long do eggs stay fresh?

According to the USDA, refrigerated egg stay fresh for 3–5 weeks after the pack date on the carton. however, displaying the pack date is merely necessary for USDA-graded eggs .

Should you keep eggs in the fridge?

The USDA recommends refrigerating eggs adenine soon as possible to maintain crust and reduce the gamble of Salmonella contaminant. The USDA besides warns that people should not leave refrigerated eggs at board temperature for more than 2 hours. Cold eggs can sweat as they warm up, which can increase the risk of bacterial growth.

Health risks of eating a bad egg

If a person eats raw eggs, they are at risk of a Salmonella infection, a shape of food poisoning. Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can grow both on the shell and inside the egg yolk and testis white. Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include :

  • diarrhea
  • abdominal cramps
  • fever
  • vomiting

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ), symptoms normally develop 6 hours to 6 days after eating a contaminated egg and last for about 4–7 days. Most people recover from Salmonella infection without antibiotics. however, those with hard symptoms may require hospitalization. Salmonella infection is often more severe and dangerous in certain groups of individuals, including :

  • adults over the age of 65 years
  • children younger than 5 years
  • people with weakened immune systems, such as those who have undergone an organ transplant or are living with HIV

not everyone who eats a bad egg will develop Salmonella infection. Steps that a person can take to reduce the risk of Salmonella include :

  • washing the hands and any objects that come into contact with raw eggs
  • keeping eggs refrigerated
  • discarding eggs after the expiration date
  • cooking eggs thoroughly so that both the yolk and white are firm
  • using pasteurized eggs for dishes that require raw or lightly cooked eggs


When eggs spoil, they begin to smell bad, and the egg yolk and egg white may become discolor. Cracked or despicable eggshells can besides be a sign of bacterial contamination. Easy ways to determine an egg ’ second freshness include checking the termination date, visually inspecting its shell, and cracking it afford to smell the at heart. If a person has any doubt about whether an testis has gone bad, they should throw it out. The chief risk of eating bad eggs is Salmonella infection, which can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. A person can reduce the gamble of Salmonella by keeping eggs refrigerated, discarding any with chapped shells, and cooking them thoroughly before eating them .

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