When it comes to food safety, the biggest risk to eggs is a little rod-shaped bacterium called Salmonella. If it gets inside you, that wily germ can cause abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and fever. Salmonella can invade eggs in one of two ways: infecting a chicken's ovaries, which leaves the yolk contaminated; and contamination from chicken feces, which can sit on the shell of an unwashed egg and get inside once it's cracked. The U.S. and Europe each have around 100,000 people fall ill from salmonella food poisoning every year, and food-safety officials make major efforts to bring those numbers down.
Why is it that in U.S. supermarkets, you find eggs in the refrigerated section, but in Europe, they sit on the shelves next to the flour and sugar? It all comes down to contamination prevention.
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Why Some Countries Refrigerate Their Eggs And Others Don't
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Key Facts In This Video
In the U.S., Australia, and Japan, eggs can be found in the refrigerated section of most supermarkets. In most other countries, eggs are stored at room temperature. 00:13
US egg producers prevent salmonella contamination by washing eggs. Keeping it cold can prevent any internal salmonella from spreading. 00:54
Washing eggs is illegal for producers in the E.U. because that removes the protective layer known as the cuticle, which could let in contaminants. 02:46