Every year, several million eggs end up being thrown away because the expiration date has passed. Eggs, one of the healthy foods to eat as part of a balanced diet, can stay in the refrigerator for several weeks.
But over time, the egg can become poor quality, as the air pocket inside enlarges and the whites thin out. In this article, let’s go over some tips that will let you know if an egg is still good to eat or if it’s expired.
In France, there are nearly 10 million tons of food that end up in the trash every year. Often, people prefer to throw away food when the expiration date has passed.
Although in France, the number of eggs that end up being wasted remains unknown, the British media The Guardian, which cites the work of the anti-waste community Too good to go, reports that in the United Kingdom, there are 720 millions of eggs that end up in the trash every year.
The main reason for this mess is the fact that 77% of Brits struggle to tell if an egg is fresh after it has passed its best before date. You want to prepare a brunch but you don’t know how long your eggs have been in the fridge? Do not panic. There are ways to know if they are consumable or not:
1/ Check expiry dates
The eggs you buy at the supermarket all have a best before date which is indicated on their packaging.
In addition, French regulations oblige the distributor to no longer sell the eggs 7 days before the date of minimum durability (Ddm) written on the packaging, as explained by the Femme Actuelle website.
But if you source eggs from the coop, the best before date is not listed. Thus, you should know that the use-by date (Dlc) is a maximum of 28 days after the day of laying.
However, eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for one month after the best before date, which is 58 days after the day of lay, if the shells are not cracked or broken. Preserving food in optimal conditions keeps it fresh, prevents mold and actively fights against food waste.
Compliance with the cold chain and deadlines is necessary to avoid pathogenic organisms that pose a risk to health. Thus, putting eggs in the refrigerator preserves their taste and nutritional qualities and prevents the growth of bacteria.
However, it is important not to wash eggs that are not going to be eaten immediately, at the risk of causing them to lose the protective film that the hen leaves there. But if the dates are not on the package, it is necessary to find other ways to find out if they are expired.
2/ Smell the egg
Like fresh products such as cheeses, desserts, fresh cream, or even yogurts, eggs can have a suspicious smell once the deadline has passed.
So, if you find that the egg is past the expiration date and you want to keep the product for later consumption, smell it first.
Expired food often gives off an unpleasant odor and should not be eaten. They may have lost their vitamins and have an altered taste.
In addition, perishable food products have a limited shelf life and can be dangerous to your health if the use-by dates are not respected. Expired eggs, whether cooked or raw, can give off a characteristic smell.
If you can’t decipher the labeling and the smell isn’t revealing enough, you can crack the egg into a bowl or salad bowl and smell it, advises dietician Taylor Jones. And if the smell puts you off, throw the egg away and wash the container with hot water.
If the smell seems normal to you, you must eat the egg quickly by preparing an omelet for example.
3/ Check the appearance of the shell
Your eyes can also help you identify if an egg is stale or consumable. Before consuming a product, it is best to inspect it visually to avoid any risk. According to the specialist, it is necessary to check if the shell is not powdery, viscous or cracked.
Any questionable appearance may reveal the presence of mold. In addition, if the shell is dry and appears to be in good condition, break the egg into a bowl and know how to identify any suspicious discoloration. Generally, it is a blue, pink, black or green color in egg white or yolk. In fact, it may reveal the growth of bacteria capable of causing food poisoning.
As confirmed by Dr. Julia Roux, a gastroenterologist, salmonella are bacteria that can be found in raw or undercooked eggs and egg preparations, as well as in dairy products.
These germs can cause salmonellosis, an intoxication that causes symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, vomiting or abdominal pain.
On the other hand, if the yolk or the white of the egg runs, this may indicate that the egg is aged but that it may not have reached its limit of use.
4/ Immerse the egg in water
According to LCI, another technique can be effective in determining whether the egg is still edible. To do this, you must immerse the egg in a saucepan or a bowl filled with water. If it sinks to the bottom of the container, it is still good to eat.
But if it stays erect, it means it needs to be eaten quickly. If it comes to the surface, it’s expired. In reality, the older the egg, the more moisture evaporates through microscopic pores and the air pocket grows. As a result, the older the egg, the more it floats.
However, if you want to consume eggs immediately, do not reproduce this experience. This dip can lead to loss of the cuticle on the shell. However, the latter protects the egg from bacteria such as salmonella.
5/ Use the candling technique
Candling is a technique to assess egg quality or chick development in a fertilized egg. Generally, this technique is carried out in the industrial environment using specialized equipment to classify table eggs before labeling and packaging them.
But you can still perform the method at home, if you wish. To do this, you need a cool place with low light.
Bring a light source like a candle or a small flashlight. Hold the light source towards the end of the egg then tilt the egg and turn it from left to right. The contents of the egg should be visible.
This technique allows you to see if the air bubble is small or large. As the egg ages, the water evaporates and is replaced by gases. Thus, the larger the air pocket, the older the egg.
Can you eat food after its expiry date?
Some foods can be eaten several days after the expiry date mentioned on the packaging. However, a person who consumes raw fish, eggs or expired meat takes health risks.
Here is a list of foods that can be eaten after the expiry date, relayed by our colleagues from Femme Actuelle:
Foods that never go bad:
Some foods such as real honey which has many health benefits, salt, sugar or vinegar never expire and can be stored forever.
Foods that do not expire, except in certain cases:
Canned goods, rice, pasta, cornstarch, flour, cereals or pulses can remain intact long after the expiration date marked on the packaging. However, these products can be infested with food moths and undergo spoilage.
Foods that can be eaten after the expiry date
Mustard, ketchup, pickles or spices can be stored and consumed well after the expiry date. In reality, the expiration dates of these foods may have passed. However, their taste may change over time.
To know if they are good, check the packaging. If it has swollen, potentially dangerous bacteria have grown and it is best to discard the products. In addition, a pungent and acidic odor may indicate that they have turned.
In addition, frozen products can be consumed after the date mentioned on the packaging, if the cold chain has been respected. If properly stored, raw fish can be stored for 6 to 9 months after the expiry date. For poultry and fruit and vegetables, the period is extended to one year. However, frozen meals keep less well than packaged products.
Foods not to eat after the expiry date
Bacteria are more likely to lodge in specific foods. This is the case for vacuum-packed raw meats, eggs and fish, as well as charcuterie.
Thus, to protect your health and avoid potential food infection, you must scrupulously rely on the expiry date mentioned in these foods.
In addition, if the packaging swells, this may signal that bacteria such as salmonella, listeria or Escherichia coli are proliferating in the food. In addition, if you open these products contaminated with bacteria, you will observe a gelatinous appearance and you will notice an off-putting smell.
In addition, fresh fruit juices can contain bacteria if the use-by date is not respected, as can raw milk cheeses. And for good reason, fresh cheeses are vulnerable to bacteria and it is necessary to pay attention to any suspicious color and smell.
Finally, salads sold in sachets may contain bacteria. In this sense, it is essential to respect the expiry date displayed on the packaging.