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SAQ: Is it safe to eat old eggs?

Now, I love me some fresh fresh eggs, but for a lazy day-off scramble I am not picky. I’m a bachelor with a thinly-stocked refrigerator, and I have been traveling over the holidays. Today is the last on a two week vacation and I had two eggs left that I figured to scramble. Alas, the “sell by” date said November 7. Two month old eggs? Well . . . they’re probably fine but this struck me as occasion for a bit of research.

Google led me to a page which explains the Julian dating for egg packing, with the FDA guideline that eggs are good for up to three weeks past their “sell by” date.

Three weeks, eh?

Then I found a discussion among red-blooded Americans. The advice is that eggs age well enough if you are cooking them, and if there’s any doubt crack them into a separate bowl. Bad eggs will reek. If you are cooking and you crack the eggs into a separate bowl you will have isolated the bad egg without ruining the rest of your recipe.

The USDA will tell you more than you ever wanted to know. Dangerous bacteria are more likely to be on the outside of the egg, though eggs are washed before they are packed. The longer an egg sits the longer any bacteria inside has a chance to grow and make you ill. If an egg has gone really bad it will likely be somewhat obvious. All the same, cooking tends to kill bacteria, except that I personally do not cook eggs with the same heat and duration that I cook meat.

Anyway, I cracked my eggs, and while they did not have the beauty of fresh eggs they still looked and smelled okay. I cooked them in a hot pan over medium heat and enjoyed them with hot sauce, garlic salt and oregano. If they kill me in the next few days I’ll try to let you know.

All the same, if I was old, young, pregnant, HIV positive, or otherwise not a healthy adult with a strong immune system I would adhere more strictly to government guidelines.

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