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jordym84's avatar

Is it safe to eat expired eggs?

Asked by jordym84 (4742points) July 24th, 2012

A friend of mine has been using eggs that have a sell-by date of June 8 and when I pointed this out to her a few weeks ago (I assumed she hadn’t noticed they’d expired) she said they were fine, that she’s eaten expired eggs before and never got sick. It’s July 24 now and the eggs are still being used. Growing up my parents never kept expired eggs, so I don’t have any experience with this. I myself haven’t been using the eggs, but I’m concerned for my friend as well as curious as to what’s the worst that could happen from consuming these eggs. What’s your take on this?

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11 Answers

Buttonstc's avatar

If an egg is spoiled and unsafe to eat, once its cracked open, there will be no question in anybody’s mind. The stench is unmistakable.

As eggs get older they tend to lose moisture since the shell is a permeable membrane.

So absent that spoiled smell, the worst thing that can happen would be that it’s more dried.

As they get older eggs lose quality but don’t usually spoil. If you are making sunnyside with older eggs, the yolks won’t stand up quite as well and if you’re poaching them the whites will tend to disperse all over the water because they’re less cohesive.

But those are all quality issues NOT safety issues.

Your friend will be fine. You had very careful and cautious parents who discarded a lot of unnecessary eggs :)

But to each his own. There are worse things they could have done :)

jordym84's avatar

@Buttonstc Thank you :) Well, the eggs never got a chance to expire at our house because we usually used them by the sell-by date

Kardamom's avatar

@jordym84 The “sell by” date is not actually the “expiration date” as you can see in this information by the Illinois Dept. of Agriculture. There’s a ton of good and interesting info about eggs on this site. So according to them, as long as the eggs are stored properly, it is safe to use them several weeks after the “sell by date.”

ragingloli's avatar

Sell by and expiration dates are minimum values, meaning that in most cases they will be good for a bit longer than the date printed on it.

jca's avatar

I eat them all the time. I have eggs in the refrig from April.

My grandfather said to me one time the same thing @Buttonstc said – if the egg is rotten, you’ll know.

marinelife's avatar

I should be fine.

6rant6's avatar

I don’t know if this is still true, but at one time grocery stores returned expiring eggs to the producer who, under rules of the FDA, was allowed to wash them and repackage them with a fresh date.

Nothing magically “expires” on the expiration date. It just slowly degrades from the moment of picking, or canning, or getting laid. Those dates are just the point at which enough degradation can be expected that somebody doesn’t want grocery stores selling stuff. Its kind of ridiculous to think that food ages at the same rate in your refrigerator that it does in a sunny warm room, but that’s what the dating model says.

Degradation can just mean loss of flavor, or failing appearance, or change in consistency, by the way; it doesn’t mean “unsafe.” That’s what the smell is for!

FrankStitt's avatar

If your stomach is used to eating old eggs, then it can handle it; they would probably make you sick if you weren’t used to them. Having said this, I’d also like to mention that a video of you eating then throwing up rotten eggs, could get you famous on Tosh.0.

Buttonstc's avatar

I hate to break this news to you, but unless one keeps chickens in their backyard, WE ARE ALL eating old eggs.

The only difference is a matter of degree of age. The date stamped is arbitrary. Supermarket eggs are already quite far removed from the chicken they came from, timewise. Between storage and transportation, they’re old already when we buy them.

But consistent refrigeration is the main determinant in whether an egg will spoil and be unsafe to eat. And you don’t have control over that until they are in your own hands. Whatever happens before that is a crapshoot. Not all stores are equally careful about both eggs as well as frozen foods.

Have you ever bought a bag frozen peas or corn and its one solid block? (it’s been defrosted and refrozen)

I rest my case.

If you really want fresh eggs, use the link below to find local farmers in your zip code. And put them straight in the frig and they’ll be so much fresher than any store bouht ones :)

www.localharvest.org

Earthgirl's avatar

There is some risk of Salmonella infection. Depending how long the eggs have been in your refrigerator and what temperature they have been stored at and also whether or not you are eating them raw or runny.
There is some good info here
Some quotes froom the above source:
How does Salmonella infect eggs?
Bacteria can be on the outside of a shell egg. That’s because the egg exits the hen’s body through the same passageway as feces is excreted. That’s why eggs are required to be washed at the processing plant. All USDA graded eggs and most large volume processors follow the washing step with a sanitizing rinse at the processing plant. It is also possible for eggs to become infected by Salmonella Enteritidis fecal contamination through the pores of the shells after they’re laid. SE also can be inside an uncracked, whole egg. Contamination of eggs may be due to bacteria within the hen’s reproductive tract before the shell forms around the yolk and white. SE doesn’t make the hen sick.

What part carries bacteria?
Researchers say that, if present, the SE can be in the yolk or “yellow” or the albumen (egg whites). So everyone is advised against eating raw or undercooked egg yolks and whites or products containing raw or undercooked eggs.

What safe handling instructions are on egg cartons?
All packages of raw, shell eggs not treated to destroy Salmonella must carry the following safe handling statement:

SAFE HANDLING INSTRUCTIONS: To prevent illness from bacteria: Keep eggs refrigerated, cook eggs until yolks are firm, and cook foods containing eggs thoroughly.
Who is “at risk” for eating raw or undercooked eggs?
Infants, young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to SE infections. A chronic illness weakens the immune system, making the person vulnerable to foodborne illnesses.

No one should eat foods containing raw eggs. This includes “health food” milk shakes made with raw eggs, Caesar salad, Hollandaise sauce, and any other foods like homemade mayonnaise, ice cream, or eggnog made from recipes in which the egg ingredients are not thoroughly cooked. However, in-shell pasteurized eggs may be used safely without cooking.

Who is working on eliminating the Salmonella in eggs?
Federal and state governments, the egg industry, and the scientific community are working together to solve the problem. Involved government agencies include: USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS); the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA); and State departments of agriculture.

jordym84's avatar

Thanks everyone for your helpful answers!! :)

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