Americans are known for being a bit different from other countries. Most countries rely on the metric system. We use pounds and ounces. Other nations have tiny fridges and little ovens. In America, we proudly house large ovens and expansive fridges. And while we certainly have more room for food in our kitchens than people do in other countries, that’s not the reason we keep our eggs refrigerated while others countries keep theirs on the counter. Although a bigger fridge can’t hurt the cause.
Most Americans think that eggs should always be stored in a fridge. But must they? In America it is true, but other countries refuse to keep their eggs in the large white box. Some places like to store their eggs at room temperature. In other words, they keep them between 62 and 73 degrees. So when you go shopping for eggs in these countries, they’re not kept in the refrigerator section next to the butter and milk. But why not and who is right? We’re going to help demystify this difference.
Different countries have differing methods of reducing the risk of salmonella in their eggs. Because this foodborne issue is serious, we want it to be avoided. In America, farmers spray their eggs with chemicals before they pack them into the egg cartons. And because these eggs have been bathed in chemicals, keeping them at a cool temperature helps prevent them from deteriorating quickly. So in America, fridge-store eggs are best.
But European farmers don’t bathe their eggs in chemicals before packing them. Instead, they claim to collect only clean eggs – that means they’re not giving people any old egg that fell out of a chicken. And therefore the risk of salmonella is much lower than it is in America.
Plus, European chickens enjoy free range environments much more often than they do in America. The factory-farm setting in the USA produces dirty and disgusting breeding grounds for bacteria and contagions. In other words, salmonella loves it. And the eggs you eat are in near constant contact with chicken feces.
Because American eggs are slathered in feces, they need a chemical bath to make them safe for sale. And once they’re sanitized, the egg sellers move eggs to a storage room kept at 45 degrees or lower.
If your eggs were previously chilled, don’t leave them out for more than two hours. And the CDC recommends that you keep your eggs child at 40 degrees or lower at all times.
Another reason Americans keep their eggs chilled is that Americans don’t vaccinate their chickens. Because our eggs come from diseased birds, keeping eggs chilled helps keep them safe from the spread of bacteria.
Why don’t Americans vaccinate our fowl? The New York Times reported, “there was not enough evidence to conclude that vaccinating hens against salmonella would prevent people from getting sick.” Plus, the Food and Drug Administration cautioned against it because the procedure would be expensive and drive up egg prices.
So who do you think handles their eggs better? The US or Europe?