How We Store Our Eggs — and Why: Making the Grade: How Eggs Make the Grade

About 60 percent of the eggs sold in the United States come from farmers who participate in USDA’s grading service, voluntarily paying to have their eggs graded so the eggs can display a “USDA Grade A” or “AA” shield on their cartons.

The grade is based on qualities that can be observed in the shell, yolk and egg white when the egg is inspected with lights and other specialized equipment.

Egg farmers who participate must spray-wash their eggs with warm water and use a sanitizing rinse and air-drying techniques specified by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

“We require very specific washing and rinsing procedures for participation, but as a practical matter, every producer in the United States washes their eggs. It’s an industry standard,” says Mark Perigen, national supervisor for AMS’s shell egg quality assessment division. After washing, all eggs must be stored at refrigerated temperatures that meet USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service requirements.

According to researchers, egg quality stays high with refrigeration and degrades rapidly without it. And only the highest quality eggs will make the grade.


How We Store Our Eggs — and Why: Exporting Eggs To Fill Supply Gaps

Through her study of U.S. and European egg storage approaches, Deana Jones, an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) food technologist in Athens, Georgia, says she hoped to clear up doubts and confusion prompted by differences in handling and storage practices. In the U.S., eggs are washed and refrigerated, whereas in Europe, they’re not. The differences prevent eggs from being more freely traded on international markets, which exacerbates the supply gaps and price hikes that occur — in both the United States and Europe — when there are disease outbreaks and egg recalls.

“Eggs are a major source of nutrition throughout the world, and in some areas, an egg shortage means people are less likely to get the protein they need to stay healthy,” Jones says.

Jones says the study was necessary because current washing and refrigeration standards were adopted in the 1970s, but egg production practices have changed since then.

“The feed is more controlled, the hens have been bred to be more consistent, and the eggs they produce are more uniform in terms of quality, shelf life and other factors,” she says. “We don’t want to be basing our decisions about egg storage on practices and production systems that are outdated and no longer in use.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspects egg-processing plants four times a year, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires egg producers to maintain storage temperatures of 45 ˚F, beginning 36 hours after the eggs are laid. Producers with fewer than 3,000 chickens are exempt from the federal regulations, so eggs sold at roadside stands and farmers’ markets may be covered by a patchwork of state laws and health codes.

The study can be found here.


How We Store Our Eggs — and Why: Where Do You Store Your Eggs?

Did you know that not everyone washes and refrigerates their eggs? It’s true! The way eggs are stored depends on where they’re produced.

Prompted by concerns about spoilage and foodborne illnesses, U.S. egg producers and processors began washing and refrigerating their eggs in the early 1970s. Other countries soon followed suit, and eggs are now washed and refrigerated in Canada, Japan and Scandinavia.

But in most of Europe, eggs are neither washed nor refrigerated. They are kept at room temperature, even in stores. This is possible because a chicken’s egg is coated with a thin, protective “cuticle,” or membrane, that may prevent Salmonella and other bacteria from penetrating the shell — making refrigeration less necessary. Washing the egg washes away the cuticle.

“The long-held belief in Europe has been that you don’t want to disturb the cuticle of the egg after it comes out of the reproductive tract because it’s protective,” says Deana Jones, an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) food technologist in Athens, Georgia.

In a study, Jones compared the quality of eggs stored using the European and U.S. approaches, along with two other common storage techniques. The results, published in Poultry Science, show that the U.S. approach is the most effective, ensuring the highest quality eggs after 15 weeks of storage.

The results were not surprising, since refrigeration helps to keep so many foods fresh, Jones says. Also, research has shown that the cuticle degrades after the egg is laid, so it’s not as protective as some may think.

“Basically, the key is that egg quality stays high with refrigeration and degrades rapidly without it,” Jones says.

The study can be found here.


How to Use Cooked Eggs in Dishes that Normally Feature Uncooked Eggs (and Other Safety Tips)

The Incredible Egg wants your food eggsperience to be delicious and safe. So what do you do when a favorite dish calls for raw or lightly cooked eggs?

For example, egg yolks are the star ingredient in mayonnaise, Hollandaise sauce, Caesar salad dressing, chilled souffles, chiffons, mousses and other recipes, but they don’t have to be raw. In fact, eggs should always be fully cooked before being consumed.

To ensure food safety, you can use either pasteurized eggs/egg products OR cooked eggs in dishes calling for raw or lightly cooked eggs.

Now you may be thinking, “Cooked eggs in a dish that calls for raw eggs?! That’s crazy!”

Rest assured, the only thing cracked about this method is the eggs…

How to cook whole eggs before using them in a dish

The following method can be used with any number of eggs and works for a variety of recipes

In a heavy saucepan, stir together the eggs and either sugar, water or other liquid from the recipe (at least 1/4 cup sugar, liquid or a combination per egg). Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the egg mixture coats a metal spoon with a thin film or reaches 160F. Immediately place the saucepan in ice water and stir until the egg mixture is cool. Proceed with the recipe.

Most retailers also carry pasteurized eggs that are available in their original shells. All egg products sold at retail, like liquid eggs in the egg case, are also pasteurized.

How to cook egg yolks before using them in a dish

This method can be used with any number of yolks:

In a heavy saucepan, stir together the egg yolks and liquid from the recipe (at least 2 tablespoons liquid per yolk). Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the yolk mixture coats a metal spoon with a thin film, bubbles at the edges or reaches 160F. Immediately place the saucepan in ice water and stir until the yolk mixture is cool. Proceed with the recipe.

How to cook egg whites before using them in a dish

This method can be used with any number of whites and works for chilled desserts as well as Seven-Minute Frosting, Royal Icing and other frosting recipes calling for raw egg whites:

In a heavy saucepan, the top of a double boiler or a metal bowl placed over water in a saucepan, stir together the egg whites and sugar from the recipe (at least 2 tablespoons sugar per white), water (1 teaspoon per white) and cream of tartar (1/8 teaspoon per each 2 whites). Cook over low heat or simmering water, beating constantly with a portable mixer at low speed, until the whites reach 160F, do not allow the mixture to form a foam in the pan. Pour into a large bowl. Beat on high speed until the whites stand in soft peaks. Proceed with the recipe.

NOTE: You must use sugar to keep the whites from coagulating too rapidly. Test with a thermometer as there is no visual clue to doneness. If you use an unlined aluminum saucepan, eliminate the cream of tartar or the two will react and create an unattractive gray meringue.

What are the best egg white alternatives to use in dishes?

You can use pasteurized dried or refrigerated liquid egg whites. Refrigerated liquid egg substitutes often contain gums and/or added salt that can hamper foaming, so check the ingredient statement carefully. Pasteurized dried and plain liquid egg whites at retail either contain no other ingredients (for recipes where little foaming is required) or contain only a whipping agent (for recipes that require a stable foam). Follow package directions to substitute dried or refrigerated liquid egg whites for raw egg whites or use about 2 tablespoons water and 2 teaspoons dried egg white or 2 to 3 tablespoons liquid egg white for each Large egg white.

How to use pasteurized shell eggs

Pasteurized shell eggs are heat-treated to destroy any bacteria, if present, and are especially suitable for dishes that call for eggs that are not fully cooked. They may also be used for other recipes, including baked goods.

Note: The heating process may create cloudiness in the whites and increase the beating time needed for foam formation. When you separate pasteurized shell eggs for beating, allow up to about four times as long for full foam formation to occur in egg whites as you would for the whites of regular eggs. Prepare other recipes as usual.

You can keep pasteurized shell eggs refrigerated for at least 30 days from the pack date (a three-digit number on the short side of the carton which represents the day of the year, with 1 = January 1 and 365 = December 31), but do not freeze them.

If pasteurized shell eggs are not available in your area, use the cooking methods outlined above, and in place of raw egg whites, use pasteurized dried or liquid egg whites.

Never reuse egg cartons

Egg cartons are considered one-time-use packaging, according to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). All eggs sold at retail are washed and sanitized before going into clean, new cartons, eliminating bacteria that may have been present on the shell. But bacteria could creep back into the picture as eggs are handled at stores and in homes. It’s a good idea to discard used egg cartons and not reuse them. Recycle them, if you can.

Egg shells should never be put back in the carton after cracking them if there are still intact eggs left in the carton. Bacteria has the potential to be on the outside, as well as the inside of an egg, and mixing cracked eggs with intact eggs greatly increases the risk of bacteria transfer by hands, utensils, air, etc.


Four Flavorful Dinners to Help You Survive This Winter

Don’t let cold days get you down this winter. Sure, it gets dark by 5 pm, which is a bummer, but the fun doesn’t have to stop when the sun goes down. Spice things up with some indoor exploration – with food! Experience flavors from around the world in new and exciting dinner dishes.

This year, the Incredible Egg launched the Dinner Eggs campaign, which proves that eggs aren’t just for breakfast anymore. It’s all about flipping people’s ideas about eggs and forever changing what’s possible for dinner. Based on research, we know that Americans struggle to think about eggs on any occasion other than breakfast. The Dinner Eggs campaign upends conventional wisdom and inspires people to look at eggs as a versatile, easy to prepare and delicious supper solution. If you missed it – you can watch the Dinner Egg “documentary” here.

How do you like your eggs? We partnered with the culinary wizards at Tastemade to create deliciously easy Dinner Egg dishes to turn your weeknights from blah to ahh this winter. And if these grey skies are leaving you craving the sun – that’s even more reason to enjoy dinner eggs! Eggs are one of the only foods that naturally contain vitamin D – which is great especially in the winter! Believe it or not, three-quarters of U.S. teens and adults are deficient in vitamin D. The so-called “sunshine vitamin” is critical for bone health and immune function.

So, shake off your winter blues and try these four eggcellent recipes from the chefs of Tastemade:

Seeing Green

When there’s no green to be seen outside, enjoy it in your kitchen. This recipe is loaded with colorful veggies and is a traditional dish with North African and Middle Eastern roots.

Green Shakshuka created by Chef Casey Corn in partnership with Tastemade.

Green Shakshuka

Taste the Ocean

This Asian-inspired recipe calls for Furikake, a savory Japanese seasoning. It brings the flavors of the ocean to your plate … for those blustery days – let your taste buds take you on a trip to the beach.

Cabbage & Egg Skillet created by Chef Dini Klein in partnership with Tastemade.

Cabbage & Egg Skillet

Classic Comfort

Snuggle under a blanket and dig into this classic comfort dish that brings an elevated twist to egg lover’s favorite sandwich.

Egg Salad Sammy created by Chef Daniel Shemtob in partnership with Tastemade.

Egg Salad Sammy

Bring the Heat

This Indian dish is an incredibly easy one-pan meal that delivers big on flavor (hint: curry paste) and small on clean-up, giving you more time to get a jump on holiday shopping.

Curried Eggs with Spinach created by Chef Das in partnership with Tastemade.

Curried Eggs with Spinach

Scroll down for a fun sizzle reel of the recipes above – we’re sure you’ll want to get cooking. And no need to take our word for it, let’s just say the fans of Tastemade are really digging Dinner Eggs, and the results show it. For the recipes above and many more, check out


Rescue Fall Routines with These Easy, Nutritious and Delicious Dinner Egg Recipes

As families settle into fall routines, schedules can be hectic and leave little time for much else. We’re all too familiar with daily dilemmas like what outfit to wear, what to pack for lunch, and of course … what should I make for dinner? That nagging question usually pops up in the late afternoon — and it can be daunting! Especially when you’re pressed for time but still want to make something that is nutritious, tastes good and maybe gets you a smile or two.

In the U.S., we ate nearly 100 billion dinners last year, mostly with others at home. That’s a whole lot of meals to plan! And while you probably have a few favorite dishes in rotation, we’re guessing you may need a bit of inspiration. Don’t sweat it, we’ve got you covered with Dinner Eggs and some help from our favorite Registered Dietitians! Cook up something incredibly delicious and nutritious for your family with these easy fall recipes created by the Egg Nutrition Center’s Egg Enthusiasts …

Choose Brain Food

School is back in session! Fuel long work/school days, by eating foods rich in choline and lutein, like eggs. Choline and lutein are two nutrients that are important for brain development, memory, and learning. Choline is an essential nutrient, meaning that our bodies can’t produce it in sufficient amounts so we must get it in our diets. Believe it or not, approximately 90% of Americans fall short of the recommended intake of choline.

Easy Microwave Ramen with Eggs by Cara Harbstreet, MS, RD, LD

Eggs and Veggie Sheet Pan Dinner by Kelly Jones, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN

Eat with Your Eyes

Does the fall semester have you spending hours in front of the computer? Lutein is not only good for your brain — it’s an important carotenoid that can act like a set of natural sunglasses, protecting our eyes from harmful blue light (hint: your smart phone). Lutein is sometimes referred to as the “eye vitamin” due to its role in eye health and helping prevent against macular degeneration and other age-related eye diseases.

Fall Avgolemono Soup by Maggie Michalczyk, RD
Fall Avgolemono soup

Scrambled Egg & Stir-Fried Veggie Lettuce Cups by Liz Weiss, MS, RDN
Scrambled Eggs & Stir-Fried Veggie Lettuce Cups

Power-Up Your Meals

During the fall many youth sports such as football, cheerleading and soccer kick into high gear. To power your little ones (and yourself!), opt for high-protein meals that will keep you satisfied longer. Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse, with one large egg containing 6 grams of high-quality protein and nine essential amino acids, all for 70 calories.

Nearly half of the egg’s protein is in the yolk, so be sure to eat the whole egg for all of the protein. Eating high-quality protein, like eggs, in combination with carbohydrates post-workout can help refuel muscles and optimize recovery. Eggs are one of the only foods that naturally has vitamin D (6% of your daily vitamin needs), which along with calcium, is critical for building strong bones.

Easy Vegetable Fried Quinoa by Andrea Mathis, MA, RDN, LD
Easy Vegetable Fried Quinoa

Pork Chops with Basil Butter and Eggs by Tawnie Kroll, RDN

So, while we can’t alleviate the carpool craze or passing of colds this fall, we can help keep you stocked with Eggcellent meal ideas. For the recipes above and many more, check out


Powering Through Summer Baseball With Eggs!

Baseball caps, stadium snacks, crowded stands and cheering for the home team. As a spectator, nothing brings summertime nostalgia flooding back more than a good old American baseball game.

However, for our beloved players, these dog days of summer baseball make for a challenging time. As a professional baseball player, the month of August signifies the unofficial backend of the regular season where they are scheduled to play through the year’s hottest and most humid days. This last stretch is a test of stamina and perseverance, as players continue to strive toward positioning their teams to qualify for postseason playoffs.

They’re figuratively nearing the seventh inning stretch of the season, so what food can power athletes through this challenging point in the season? Eggs, of course!

Egg Nutrition and Athletes
Eggs are perfect for athletes because they are a great-tasting source of easily-digested, high-quality protein and other key nutrients, including all the essential amino acids to maintain strong muscles.

In addition to protein, eggs are one of the few natural food sources of vitamin D, an important nutrient for bone health. Research suggests adequate vitamin D may reduce the risk of stress fractures, inflammation, illness and impaired muscle function , which are all important factors to consider for an athlete, especially one nearing the latter stages of the season.

Other key nutrient found in eggs are lutein and zeaxanthin (252 mcg/large egg). Research shows these nutrients may be important to eye health. Baseball players only have a matter of milliseconds to decide if and how they are going to swing at a pitcher’s throw. Lutein in the eye may help athletes with visual performance and protecting the retina from damaging light , which they are often exposed to during games. This provides another great reason to eat eggs so that players can power through inning after inning! Because baseball players are exposed to high levels of damaging light, eating eggs is particularly important to protect their retina and maintain cognition, allowing them to power through inning after inning.

Batter up!
Want to eat like the pros? Katie Hayes, RDN, Director of Nutrition Communications with Egg Nutrition Center, shares some delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack time that are sure to hit it out of the park in both flavor and nutritional value! For more egg nutrition information visit

Breakfast: Brown Rice Breakfast Bowls

Start the day off with an out-of-the-park breakfast full of high-quality protein, like eggs, to help provide sustained mental and physical energy throughout the day. These Brown Rice Breakfast Bowls pack 15 grams of protein and 24 grams of carbohydrates. High-quality protein, like the protein in eggs, is easily digested and has all the essential amino acids to maintain muscle!

Lunch: Mummy’s Caesar Egg Salad Wrap

Did you know that one large egg provides six grams of high-quality protein? This can help athletes or active individuals both build and preserve muscle. Our Caesar Egg Salad Wrap only takes 10 minutes to prepare, making it a surefire grand slam for your next lunch.

Snack: Super Frozen Protein Smoothie

For the ultimate post-workout recovery snack, look no further than this Super Frozen Protein Smoothie! Hayes recommends this nutrient-packed snack because it provides 29 grams of protein and is a good source of fiber and potassium. Research shows that eating meals with 20-40 grams of high-quality protein after exercising, such as egg protein, is an optimal way to rebuild muscle.

Dinner: Diver’s Below the Sea Salmon with Egg

Finish strong with dinner! To power through the bottom of the ninth, try our tasty Diver’s Below the Sea Salmon with Egg recipe for dinner. This recipe boasts an excellent source of protein and choline, and a good source of vitamin A and folate. Better yet, it’s plain old tasty, too!


Kid Farmers Inspire 42nd Commemorative Egg

By Chloe Campbell
High Point Elementary School 5th Grader and 4th Generation Egg Farmer
Dutt & Wagner Family Farm, Abingdon, VA

My name is Chloe Campbell and I’m a fourth-generation egg farmer. I’m 11 years-old and live in Abingdon, Virginia with my stepmom, dad, and my pet bunny, Trickle. I come from a long line of farmers. My cousin, Lake Wagner, is also a fourth-generation farmer at our family farm, Dutt & Wagner.

When I think of Easter, I think of eggs. Hunting for them. Eating lots of them. And of course, decorating them. It’s one of my favorite things to do leading up to the holiday. That’s why I got SO excited this year when I heard I had the opportunity to share my own design for a super special Easter egg…the Commemorative Egg for the First Lady!

You might be surprised to know that every year a beautifully designed Commemorative Egg is presented to the First Lady of the United States. It’s an annual tradition by America’s egg farmers that goes as far back as the Carter Administration.

But, this year’s 42nd Commemorative Egg presented to First Lady Melania Trump will be particularly special because the design was inspired by egg farmers’ children, like me. Children across the country submitted suggestions and designs to the artist.

I’m sure lots of other farmer’s kids had fun creating cool design ideas in their submissions too. My design was inspired by Trickle, my pet bunny, and used a quilling design technique. Don’t know what quilling is? You can see my full submission letter explaining it below. When I heard my design was among those that inspired the final 2019 First Lady’s Commemorative Egg, I was thrilled! I can’t wait for Easter and to see Mrs. Trump holding the egg. It’s very special and something I’ll always remember.

To view the 2019 Commemorative Egg, click here


Farming With Family

By Trey Braswell
4th Generation Egg Farmer
Braswell Family Farms, Nashville, N.C.

One of my vivid childhood memories is on the South Lawn of the White House. It was a surprisingly warm spring day and I was pushing a brightly colored egg with a wooden spoon through meticulously manicured green grass.

It was exciting for our family and hundreds of others to participate in an American Easter tradition dating back to 1878 — the White House Easter Egg Roll! There was certainly a sense of connection and comradery. I remember also feeling proud; my father told me that all the eggs for the event had been donated by egg farmers. The eggs came from farms like ours in Nashville, N.C.

That was years ago, but I often find myself recalling that day on the White House lawn. And I still do so with pride, as I’m now the fourth generation on Braswell Family Farms, continuing our tradition of honoring relationships as we feed Americans across the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic.

The importance of relationships is close to my heart. Growing up, there really was no separation of “family” and “farm.” We considered employees as family (and still do). Some actually were family, of course, but everyone, related or not, was “Aunt” or “Uncle” to me. I suspect this was always the case, when my great-great-uncle J.M. and great-grandad E.G. purchased the water-powered grist mill that started our business. I believe a family atmosphere transcends job titles and responsibilities. And I believe the relationships we’ve forged over the years are what will keep our farm going for future generations. Ours is a people business. Our goal is to continue to provide the highest quality eggs every day and to make a positive impact on lives.

Someday when our young daughters are a bit older, my wife and I hope to take them to a White House Easter Egg Roll. For now, however, we are more than content to enjoy Easter in our North Carolina backyard at Braswell Family Farms. After all, the joy that comes from decorating or hunting for eggs further connects us as Americans, no matter if these take place on the White House lawn or lawns across the country.


I’m a Proud Egg Farmer, Today and Every Day

By Vanessa Brey
4th Generation Egg Farmer
Brey’s Egg Farm, Jeffersonville, NY

I’m a fourth-generation farmer, working with my dad, Daniel and my mom, Nancy, on the upstate New York farm my great-grandfather, Harold, founded in 1932. I think he would be proud to see how we have grown and evolved over the years from the 10 cows and 200 chickens they started with. We’re the last egg farm left in Sullivan County, in fact.

We provide for the hens in our care who, in turn, provide fresh and nutritious eggs that Americans love. We raise cattle, too.

One of my earliest memories as a little girl is standing on a milk crate in our egg room. I did this a lot, helping package eggs for shipment to stores and homes here in Sullivan County, as well as New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut. It’s hard work, but more than that, it’s satisfying and rewarding, because we know we are doing our part to feed people!

One of the great things about my job is that I’m getting paid to do something I love. I don’t mind the manual labor; it’s like I’m getting paid to work out and it’s better than sitting behind a desk all day (although I do have to do my share of paperwork). This is an around-the-clock, 365-days-per-year job because our hens depend on us, just like we depend on them.

We blend their feed mixture right here on the farm, and we use grains and minerals to ensure they get the freshest and healthiest ingredients during each stage of their development. We do this not only because it’s the responsible and right thing to do, but also because the result will be enjoyed by someone like you and me.

My job is one that many people aren’t that familiar with. Many haven’t had the opportunity to get to know a farmer. That’s one of the reasons it is important to share my story. I want people to know that I work hard not just during this busy Easter season, but every day to provide eggs. And, I’m not alone. I’m one of countless farmers across the country who do their best every day.