Poultry International - February 2018 - 14
14 ❙ PoultryInternational
Refrigerated eggs versus
shelves: Is one method safer?
Egg refrigeration, or lack thereof, can cause great surprise to
consumers used to one approach or the other, so why do we have
two different approaches to selling eggs?
DR VINCENT GUYONNET
If you have traveled overseas and visited with an interested eye the local grocery
stores and food markets, have you ever
wondered why some countries, mainly the
U.S. and Canada, sell eggs under refrigeration, while most other countries sell them
on regular shelves?
A key principle from the Codex
Alimentarius, the grouping of food stanGuyonnet
dards adopted by the FAO/WHO's Codex
Alimentarius Committee, is that "from
primary production to the point of consumption, eggs
should be subject to effective and validated control measures intended to achieve the appropriate level of public
formation, to continue to play its role as a protective barrier throughout the life of the egg.
In a very few countries, the eggs are kept under refrigeration, starting often right on the farms. Eggs will then
be washed at warm temperatures, blow dried, packed and
kept under refrigeration all the way to the shelves of the
stores. When refrigerated, eggs are more sensitive to temperature fluctuations and will "sweat" quickly if exposed
to warmer temperatures, increasing the potential risk of
bacterial contamination through the eggshell or the development of fungus or mildew on the shell.
So, is one method safer than the other?
Which is best?
A review of recent data from the United States
Department of Agriculture and the European Food Safety
Authority showed that the incidence of Salmonella enter-
Interestingly, under this same principle of food safety, two camps have
been created and have adopted opposite tactics.
In most of the world, eggs are not
refrigerated throughout the distribution
channel and sold in stores as non-refrigerated items usually next to baking
goods. Along with that, the washing of
eggs on farms or in egg packing stations is not permitted. This allows for Washed eggs become more sensitive to temperature fluctuations
the cuticle, a fine coating deposited by and must be kept at low temperatures to prevent bacterial
the hen during the last stage of the egg contamination. Dr. Vincent Guyonnet
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ February 2018