Why Are Eggs Refrigerated In Some Countries And Not In Others?
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. 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. 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. It seems obvious, then, for producers to wash the eggs before they go to market. This is precisely what countries like the U.S. do. Here's the problem: washing removes the cuticle, a thin layer that keeps out bacterial invaders. That means that once the eggs are washed, producers have to take other steps to avoid future contamination. Refrigeration is one of those steps, as it's a great way to keep microorganisms like salmonella from multiplying to a hazardous level. When countries like those in the E.U. don't wash eggs, they leave on potentially risky dirt and feces, but they also leave on the eggs' natural protection and make refrigeration less necessary. Some European countries even vaccinate hens against salmonella as one more step in the fight against food poisoning. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.
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. (0:13)
US egg producers prevent salmonella contamination by washing eggs. Keeping it cold can prevent any internal salmonella from spreading. (0:54)
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. (2:46)