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How Long Can Eggs Be Unrefrigerated Before Becoming Unsafe To Eat?

How long can eggs be unrefrigerated before becoming unsafe to eat? The question of how long eggs can remain unrefrigerated is a crucial consideration for anyone handling these perishable goods. Without proper refrigeration, eggs can quickly deteriorate, posing a risk to consumer health. The duration that eggs can stay outside of refrigeration before they become unsafe to eat varies depending on several factors, including temperature and handling conditions.

Chef Sebastian Cole
Chef Sebastian Cole
Feb 14, 20242 Shares30 Views
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  1. Do Fresh Eggs Need To Be Refrigerated?
  2. Effects On Nutritional Value Of Eggs Stored At Different Places
  3. How Do You Tell If Eggs Are Spoiled?
  4. What Happens If You Left Eggs In Your Car Overnight?
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
  6. Conclusion
How Long Can Eggs Be Unrefrigerated Before Becoming Unsafe To Eat?

The peculiar American habit of refrigerating eggs indeed exists. Instead of hiding their eggs in a refrigerated egg tray, several nations sell their eggs unrefrigerated and put them out on display. Additionally, eggs that are genuinely farm-fresh and have never been refrigerated may be left out on the counter or in another suitable location for up to a week.

However, eggs must be kept refrigerated after they are in there. If eggs are stored correctly, they may remain fresh for up to five weeks in the refrigerator after they are packaged. However, How long can eggs be unrefrigerated before becoming unsafe to eat?

Do Fresh Eggs Need To Be Refrigerated?

 Three Eggs on Tray
Three Eggs on Tray

Eggs that have just been laid must be chilled right away. Once you get home, fresh eggs from a farmer's market must be refrigerated. To reduce the danger of Salmonella, eggs should be kept at 40 degrees F or below, according to USDA recommendations. Instead of being kept in the door, eggs should be kept in their carton and kept in the refrigerator's coldest section.

Why Don’t Europeans Refrigerate Eggs?

In Europe, egg safety regulations are a little different. Instead of washing eggs, they mandate that they stay unwashed, which thickens the egg's shell and keeps salmonella-causing germs out of the egg.

Eggs in Tray on White Surface
Eggs in Tray on White Surface

Effects On Nutritional Value Of Eggs Stored At Different Places

Salmonella and other bugs may be dangerous, but storing eggs at ambient temperature can also negatively impact their protein content.

Fresh Eggs

Farm-fresh eggs may be stored for a little while longer than store-bought eggs, which should continually be refrigerated. Not having undergone industrial washing, these eggs maintain their "bloom," offering them a higher level of bacterial protection than eggs from the grocery store.

Cool, Dry Storage

Eggs should be kept in or on absorbent materials, such as cardboard or paper towels. The egg's shelf life will be further shortened by any moisture buildup on its surface, which may be hazardous.

A thin layer of mineral oil works well as a replacement if you scrubbed your eggs really hard over the sink and are worried that you could have damaged the bloom layer. Remember that this does not apply to professionally cleaned eggs, as mineral oil is unable to offset the chemical alterations brought about by a rigorous cleaning procedure.

Previously Refrigerated Eggs

When cold eggs warm up, condensation appears on the exterior of the shell, creating a wealthy broth for any germs that may have been on the egg's surface. Furthermore, it offers a channel for microorganisms to swim' through the delicate eggshell and into the inner chamber of the egg.

This is a concern with store-bought eggs as well as freshly cleaned and sterilized eggs, but it is more troublesome with unwashed eggs. Any kind of egg placed in the refrigerator has to remain there until it's time to eat.

Basket Filled With Poultry Eggs
Basket Filled With Poultry Eggs

The American Egg Board states that eggs may be kept at room temperature on the counter for about two hours (or one hour if it's 90°F or above). Getting a new dozen eggs after two hours is a safer option than taking a risk. Why? Because eggs are especially vulnerable to salmonella, the temperature shift might encourage the development of germs.

Fortunately, handling and correctly cooking eggs is relatively easy. Store those eggs in the refrigerator at or below 40°F. Throw away any broken eggs. Wash your hands and any utensils that come into contact with raw eggs. After that, you may relax and enjoy your tasty morning taco.

Close-Up of Brown Eggs
Close-Up of Brown Eggs

How Do You Tell If Eggs Are Spoiled?

Regretfully, it might be challenging to determine whether eggs have gone rotten or not. There are a few trustworthy methods for determining it, however.

Check Expiration Date

Look for the "sell by" or "best before" date on the carton. It is easy to determine when the eggs are old using these dates. Eggs, however, may stay fresh beyond this date.

Sell By Date

A "sell by" date does not always mean that the eggs have gone wrong; instead, it only specifies how long a retailer should sell eggs for, no more than 30 days after packaging.

Expiration Date

On the other hand, an expiry date indicates the point beyond which the eggs are no longer regarded as fresh. There's another date you may check to see how fresh your eggs are if none of these labels are on them.

Pack Date

The day the eggs were graded, cleaned, and packed is known as the "pack date," and it must be indicated on the carton for eggs that the USDA has graded. However, you need to know what to look for to see it.

Conduct A Sniff Test

The earliest, easiest, and most accurate way to determine if an egg has gone wrong is to do a nose test. Whether your eggs are over their "sell by" or expiry date, you may use a quick smell to determine whether they're still okay. Regardless of whether they are cooked or uncooked, spoiled eggs will always smell terrible.

Break open the egg and take a whiff while it's still in its shell, or break it directly into a sanitized dish or bowl. Throw out the egg and give the bowl or plate a good cleaning with hot, soapy water before using it again if anything smells off. The egg is still safe to use if everything smells normal or if there is absolutely no odor.

Complete A Visual Inspection

Your eyes, in addition to your nose, are valuable tools for determining the quality of an egg. Make sure the egg's shell isn't shattered, powdered, or slimy while it's still in it. Bacteria may be indicated by sliminess or fissures, while mold can be indicated by the shell seeming powdered.

Before usage, break the egg onto a pristine white dish or plate if the shell seems dry and unharmed. To rule out bacterial development, check for any pink or iridescent discoloration in the yolk or whites.

Before testing another egg, discard the old one and give the bowl a thorough cleaning with hot, soapy water if you see any indications of discoloration. Another thing you may do is examine whether the egg's whites or yolk are runny. This suggests that the egg is becoming older and that its quality has decreased.

Perform A Float Test

One of the most often used techniques for determining whether an egg is okay or rotten is the float test. This is another typical technique (Trusted Source) for figuring out how old a fertilized egg is before it hatches into a chick.

Gently place your egg into a basin or pail of water to do the float test. The egg is fresh if it sinks. It is ancient if it tilts upward or perhaps floats.

This is because when an egg matures, water is removed and replaced by air, which causes the tiny air pocket within to expand. The egg can float if the air pocket is big enough.

This technique can identify if an egg is fresh or old, but it cannot identify whether an egg is excellent or awful. While an egg that floats may still be safe to eat, an egg that sinks may still be hazardous.

Tray of Egg on Beige Panel
Tray of Egg on Beige Panel

What Happens If You Left Eggs In Your Car Overnight?

For eggs that you leave on the counter overnight, there are some simple safety guidelines. Nonetheless, there is an easy fix if you have left eggs in a vehicle overnight. There is little of a temperature swing in the room on average.

No matter where you reside, the temperature inside your automobile will shift significantly from the afternoon to the evening, throughout the night, and again in the morning.

Thus, when eggs left in a vehicle are taken out, their temperature varies to the extent that cooking them becomes unsafe. Temperature swings pose a severe threat to eggs, and germs are likely to increase.

It is preferable to discard eggs that you have left in your vehicle overnight or on your journey for more than two hours.

Leaving Eggs In A Hot Car

Bacteria develop on eggs when they are left in a hot automobile (85°F or above) for 30 minutes. Farm eggs may not expire as quickly as store-bought eggs, but they may get contaminated by heat during storage and transit.

Leaving Eggs In A Cold Car

Because germs cannot thrive at temperatures below 40°F (4°C), eggs left in a chilly vehicle are safe to consume.

On the other hand, temperature variations that last longer than two hours may result in contamination. If the temperature in the vehicle is consistent, the eggs may survive up to five weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Safe To Eat Eggs That Have Been Unrefrigerated For 24 Hours?

Eggs should be left out on your counter for up to two hours and up to one hour in the case of high temperatures. They need to be kept in the refrigerator after that. To store the eggs, most refrigerators include a dedicated bin or shelf at the entrance.

Can You Keep Eggs Unrefrigerated For 12 Hours?

Hopefully, you now understand that eggs should always be included overnight since they can only be kept fresh for two hours without refrigeration.

How Do You Know If Unrefrigerated Eggs Are Rotten?

The eggs are still fresh if they float to the bottom and lie flat on their sides. Eggs are still edible even if they sink and stand on one end at the bottom of the glass or dish.

Can You Cook Salmonella Out Of Eggs?

Although frying eggs to the correct temperature of 145°F for 15 seconds will eliminate Salmonella enteritidis, many consumers like their eggs uncooked (sunny side up, over easy, etc.). Additionally, raw eggs may be used for dressings and sauces.

Is It OK To Store Eggs At Room Temperature?

Eggs maintained in the refrigerator will stay fresh and of high quality for at least twice as long as those left at room temperature, which lose quality after a few days and should be consumed within 1-3 weeks (15, 16–17).

Can You Get Sick From Unwashed Eggs?

If eggs are not properly washed, they may make people sick. Contaminated shells may spread Salmonella, an illness linked to chickens. Scrummy shells may contaminate hands, food, kitchen equipment, and even clean cooking surfaces. Because of their tiny pores, eggs may harbor dangerous pathogens.


The article aims to answer How long can eggs be unrefrigerated before becoming unsafe to eat. If you purchase eggs from a refrigerated case, you should generally keep them refrigerated at home, just as you would with any other meal. After purchasing, eggs should be consumed within three weeks and kept refrigerated in their packaging. Verify the packing date on the box, and remember to write it down if you move the eggs into an egg storage container.

According to United Egg Producers, eggs that are appropriately kept should be safe to consume four to five weeks after the pack date and two to three weeks beyond the expiry date.

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