Should You Wash Eggs Before Cooking Them? The USDA Explains – Health Digest

Marisa Bunning, a professor and food safety extension specialist in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Colorado State University, told Real Simple that farm-fresh eggs are a different story from store-bought, prettily packaged cartons of eggs. “Consumers aren’t used to eggs from their backyard. They’re treating them like they’re the same, but they’re not the same,” she shared. 

The main difference lies in the fact that store-bought eggs have already gone through a thorough cleaning and packaging process, as explained before. Farm-fresh eggs could have dirt, debris, straw, and even droppings on the shells, said Bunning. The natural cuticle that encircles an egg when it’s first laid can actually keep eggs fresh on the counter for weeks, per Taste of Home. But as soon as you wash them, the coating is removed, making the eggs vulnerable to contamination. So as a rule of thumb, it’s best to wash farm-fresh eggs just before you consume them. 

When it comes to washing backyard eggs, it’s also important to note that you shouldn’t leave them sitting in water where dirt and debris mixed with water can enter the egg through its porous shell. Instead, wash the eggs under running water that’s between 110 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit, per Colorado State University. You can use unscented dishwashing liquid if you want some extra cleanliness. 

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