Eggs are an important part of a healthy and balanced diet.
Eggs form the basis of many breakfast meals – scrambled, poached, fried, omelette, baked or soft and hard boiled, but are also used in many snacks, lunches and as a great basis for dinner meals like quiche, pies and even rice kedgeree.
Eggs Inc promotes eggs in New Zealand and is fully funded by egg farmers via the EPF. Visit the I Love Eggs website for more information on the nutritional benefits of eggs, cooking and storage tips and lots of recipe ideas.
How should I store eggs?
- Eggs should be stored out of direct sunlight at a constant temperature at or below 15 degrees.
- If you are storing them in the fridge, keep them in cartons on a middle or lower shelf, rather than in the door of the fridge, so the temperature is more consistent
- Try and avoid storing eggs close to other strongly flavoured or strongly smelling foods like onions
- Eggs should always be stored with the pointed end facing downwards – the blunt end of an egg has an air pocket which gradually enlarges as the egg loses moisture during storage. Keeping the air pocket at the top helps to keep the yolk centered and prevents the air pocket from rupturing, which reduces the risk of the egg spoiling.
- Refrigerated eggs keep without a significant loss of quality for 4 – 5 weeks beyond the pack date, or roughly 3 weeks from purchase.
- To test a raw egg’s freshness, place it in a bowl of water. Do this just before you plan to use it because it absorbs water through its shell. If the egg sinks or stays close to the bottom of the bowl, it is fresh (its shell has not let in air, which happens gradually). If it rises to the top, it should be thrown away.
- Eggs can be frozen – but not in the shell as the shell will crack and they will deteriorate too much, making them unusable. Eggs must be cracked and the white and yolk beaten together or separated. The mixture can then be poured into ice cube trays or similar containers for frozen storage.
How do I know eggs are safe to eat?
The risk of contracting food poisoning from eating eggs is very low in New Zealand. Due to the slight risk from Salmonella, the Egg Producers Federation suggests it is best to be careful when handling eggs, cooking them where possible, and taking particular care when recipes use raw eggs.
Do not buy eggs that are visibly soiled with feathers or smeared with bird droppings. Shell eggs must be visibly clean by law, so if your eggs are soiled, take them back to the store they were bought from.
In the very rare instance of Salmonella poisoning, the most likely source of contamination is from the outside shell of an egg. The most recent study performed by Environmental Science and Research found none of the eggs tested had Salmonella present inside the egg, and only 1.8% had Salmonella present on the shell.
Do I Have to Wash Eggs Before Cooking Them?
Answer: No. New Zealand commercial egg producers have high on-farm egg production and cleaning standards and are not permitted to sell dirty eggs.
You may however occasionally come across an egg that is slightly soiled or has a bit of fluff stuck to its shell. In that case, buff the egg gently with a dry, clean cloth to remove the soiling.
The Egg Producers Federation (EPF) recommends that you do not wash eggs before cooking. While eggs are a wonderful natural packaging but they are porous and washing eggs risks introducing contaminants into the egg.
EPF Executive Director Michael Brooks explains the matter in this informative video clip.
Video clip courtesy of TVNZ Breakfast Show.
What do I do if I am allergic to eggs?
If you or someone you know has an egg allergy, you will need to be aware of just how many commercially prepared foods contain egg. Take care to read food labels as egg and egg products must be labelled no matter how small the amount a product contains. Allergy NZ is a good source of information too.
Should I eat eggs while I am pregnant?
Yes! Just make sure you cook them. Pregnant women are advised not to eat raw eggs. Eggs are an excellent source of choline and iodine, both of which are important for foetal development. Two whole eggs, including the yolk, contain roughly half your daily choline and iodine needs. The Ministry of Health recommends pregnant women eat at least two servings of lean protein, such as eggs, per day.
Are eggs bad for your cholesterol levels?
This is a misconception. There is now conclusive evidence that regular moderate consumption of eggs (1-2 per day) does not increase total blood cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (sometimes called bad cholesterol) levels in healthy people. The NZ Heart Foundation therefore now advises that eggs can be included as part of a balanced diet, and the Ministry of Health recommends healthy adults eat at least one serving of lean protein, such as eggs, per day.
Based on current evidence, the Heart Foundation is making a prudent recommendation that New Zealanders who are at increased risk of heart disease, including those with Type 2 Diabetes, can eat up to six eggs per week as part of a heart-healthy eating pattern. This amount is unlikely to have any substantive influence on their risk of heart disease – Ref: Eggs Position Statement (heartfoundation.org.nz)