Eggs are so basic, they’re borderline boring, so we don’t really think about them a whole lot. Unless it’s a philosophical quest to find out which came first: the chicken or the egg. But that’s a different matter.
So when the TikToker Mauren Sparrow shared what seemed like a fun fact on eggs, it caused such a stir that people said their life was a lie. It all started with someone pointing out that many countries, unlike Americans, don’t refrigerate their eggs. And Mauren stepped in to explain why. Even if the US isn’t the only nation that stores eggs in supermarkets’ refrigerators, it turns out that the US Department of Agriculture recommends doing so.
The video went viral with 24.6K likes and almost 2K comments trying to make sense of how their lives are gonna go after this eggcellent bite of knowledge. Let’s see Mauren’s full explanation down below.
This Twitter user pointed out that Americans do refrigerate their eggs
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This girl made a whole TikTok video explaining why Americans refrigerate eggs and you can watch it here
@maurensparrowOk, but did you know this ##funfact ? 🤔 . ##themoreyouknow ##tiktokeducation ##funfacts ##eggucation ##eggs♬ original sound – maurensparrow
Even if the US is not the only country that refrigerates eggs, Mauren gave an eggcellent explanation on why Americans do that
Bored Panda contacted Rafael Rivera, manager of food safety and production programs at the US Poultry & Egg Association, to find out what experts have to say about American and European ways of storing eggs.
Rafael explained: “When an egg is laid, it has a very thin membrane called the cuticle that prevents bacteria from passing through the pores on the shell.” Washing and brushing incorrectly leads to spoilage. “It can cause bacteria to enter the egg and either make the egg go bad or increase the risk of having salmonella.”
And at this point, there are two schools of storing eggs. “Europeans decided it was better to keep the eggs on the shelves without cleaning and brushing to protect the cuticle, even if the egg is dirty. Americans decided that it is better to clean the egg, because it looks better and refrigerating eggs prevents spoilage and contamination.” Either way prevents salmonella from passing through the shell, assured Rafael.
In terms of transmitting salmonella, it doesn’t seem that it makes much of a difference how you store eggs at home. “You need to cook the egg thoroughly before consuming it, and the rate of infection from eating undercooked or raw eggs is about the same regardless of whether it is refrigerated or not,” said Rafael. That being said, “refrigerated eggs can last for up to 50 days compared to the 20 days that an unrefrigerated egg might last.”
Many European supermarkets don’t refrigerate eggs. So it’s rather common to see stacks of egg carton boxes sitting in the aisles with long-lived foods like beans, pasta, and baking mixes. Meanwhile, eggs in the US sit in the refrigerated dairy section.
According to Business Insider, “the difference is linked to the way that eggs are farmed and processed in the US compared with in the UK and other European nations.” In the US, the Department of Agriculture requires supermarkets to wash and sanitize graded eggs before they’re sold. But EU egg marketing laws state the opposite. Forbes reports that European law “requires that Class A eggs—those found on supermarket shelves, must not be washed or cleaned in any way.”
Mark Williams, the chief executive at the British Egg Industry Council, told Forbes that “in Europe, such understanding of this mandate actually encourages husbandry on farms.” As a result, it’s in the farmers’ best interests then to produce the cleanest eggs possible since nobody is going to buy eggs that are dirty.
This is how people reacted