How Long After Laying Can An Egg Be Considered Fresh?

how long after laying can an egg be considered fresh

Are you curious about how long an egg can be considered fresh after it has been laid? It’s a question that many of us ponder, especially when we want to ensure we’re consuming the freshest eggs possible. In this article, we will explore the timeline of freshness when it comes to eggs, so you can confidently enjoy your morning omelettes without any doubts. Get ready to learn some egg-citing facts!

Factors Affecting Egg Freshness

Chicken Breed

The breed of chicken that lays the eggs can have an impact on their freshness. Some chicken breeds are known for laying fresher eggs than others. For example, certain heritage breeds are known for producing eggs with longer shelf lives. If you are concerned about egg freshness, it may be worth considering the breed of chicken that is laying the eggs.

Storage Conditions

The way eggs are stored can greatly affect their freshness. Eggs should be stored in a cool and dry place to maintain their freshness. Exposing eggs to fluctuating temperatures or excessive moisture can accelerate the aging process and decrease their shelf life. It is important to store eggs in proper containers that protect them from exposure to light and odors from other foods.

Egg Washing

Egg washing is a common practice in many countries to remove dirt and potential bacteria from the eggshells. However, this process can also remove the protective cuticle, a natural coating that helps to seal the pores of the eggshell and prevent bacteria from entering. Without this cuticle, eggs are more susceptible to bacterial contamination and can lose freshness faster. It is important to note that in some countries, such as the United States, commercial egg washing is required by law.


Temperature plays a crucial role in egg freshness. High temperatures can accelerate the aging process and increase the risk of bacterial growth, while low temperatures can help to prolong the freshness of eggs. It is recommended to store eggs at a consistent temperature of around 40°F (4°C) in the refrigerator to maintain their freshness for a longer period of time.


Humidity levels can also impact the freshness of eggs. High humidity can cause condensation to form on the eggshell, which can facilitate bacterial growth and compromise freshness. On the other hand, low humidity can cause eggs to lose moisture and become stale. It is important to store eggs in a cool and dry environment to maintain an optimal humidity level.

Determining Egg Freshness

Candling Method

Candling is a method used to assess the freshness of eggs by examining them with a bright light source. By holding the egg up to a candle or a strong flashlight in a dark room, you can see the contents of the egg more clearly. Fresh eggs will have a well-defined air cell, a clear egg white, and a yolk that sits high and is rounded. If the air cell is larger, the egg white is watery, or the yolk is flat and spreads out, the egg may not be as fresh.

Float Test

The float test is another method used to determine egg freshness. Simply place the egg in a bowl of water. If the egg sinks to the bottom and lays flat on its side, it is very fresh. If it stands upright and bobs slightly, it is still fresh but not as new. If the egg floats to the top, it is no longer fresh and should not be consumed.

Egg Smell

The smell of an egg can provide valuable information about its freshness. Fresh eggs have no distinct odor, while spoiled eggs will give off a strong and unpleasant smell of sulfur. It is important to note that the smell of an egg alone is not always a reliable indicator of freshness, as some older eggs may not have a noticeable odor.

Egg Yolk Appearance

The appearance of the egg yolk can offer insights into its freshness. A fresh egg yolk will have a bright and vibrant orange or yellow color. If the yolk appears dull or flat, it may be an indication that the egg is not as fresh. Additionally, if the yolk breaks easily when cracked open, it may be a sign of age.

Storage Duration for Fresh Eggs

Room Temperature Storage

Eggs can be stored at room temperature for a short period of time, typically up to one week. However, it is important to note that room temperature storage can accelerate the aging process and increase the risk of bacterial contamination. If you choose to store eggs at room temperature, it is crucial to ensure that they are kept in a cool and dry place.

Refrigeration Storage

Refrigerating eggs is the most common method of storage to maintain their freshness. Eggs should be stored in their original carton in the main body of the refrigerator, rather than on the door where temperatures can fluctuate more. Proper refrigeration can help to slow down the aging process and keep eggs fresh for several weeks beyond their expiration date.

Extended Shelf Life Techniques

There are various techniques available to extend the shelf life of eggs. One method is to coat the eggs with a food-grade mineral oil or silicone spray to seal the pores of the eggshell and prevent moisture loss and bacterial contamination. Another method is to freeze eggs in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag. Freezing can extend the shelf life of eggs by several months, but it can affect the texture of the egg white.

Implications of Not Consuming Fresh Eggs

Reduced Nutritional Value

As eggs age, their nutritional value can decrease. Fresh eggs are rich in essential nutrients such as protein, vitamins, and minerals. However, as eggs age, the levels of certain nutrients, such as vitamin A and vitamin E, can decrease. Consuming older eggs may not provide the same nutritional benefits as consuming fresh eggs.

Increased Risk of Bacterial Contamination

Eggs are susceptible to bacterial contamination, especially if they are not stored properly or are consumed past their recommended consumption time. Consuming eggs that are no longer fresh can increase the risk of foodborne illnesses, such as Salmonella infection. It is important to handle and consume eggs safely to minimize the risk of bacterial contamination.

Benefits of Consuming Fresh Eggs

Higher Nutritional Value

Fresh eggs are known to have a higher nutritional value compared to older eggs. They are an excellent source of high-quality protein and contain essential vitamins and minerals. Consuming fresh eggs can contribute to a well-balanced and nutritious diet.

Better Taste and Texture

Fresh eggs are known for their superior taste and texture. They have a rich and creamy flavor and a firm and vibrant egg white and yolk. The taste and texture of fresh eggs can enhance the overall culinary experience and make dishes more enjoyable.

Egg Freshness Guidelines by Country

United States

In the United States, eggs are required to be washed and refrigerated. The USDA recommends refrigerating eggs at a temperature of 40°F (4°C) or below. They also provide guidelines for labeling eggs with a “Best By” date, which indicates the recommended consumption time for optimal freshness.

European Union

In the European Union, commercial egg washing is prohibited. Eggs are not refrigerated in the EU and are generally sold at room temperature. However, some EU countries may have specific guidelines for egg storage and labeling.


In Australia, eggs are generally washed and refrigerated. The Australian Egg Corporation Limited recommends storing eggs in the refrigerator at a temperature of 5-8°C (41-46°F) to maintain their freshness and reduce the risk of bacterial contamination.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, eggs are produced under the Lion Quality Code of Practice, which requires stringent safety and hygiene measures. Eggs are generally not washed, and it is recommended to store them at a temperature below 20°C (68°F) to maintain their freshness.


In Canada, eggs are washed and refrigerated. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency recommends storing eggs in the refrigerator at a temperature of 4°C (39°F) or lower and using them within 35 days of the pack date for maximum freshness.

Tips for Maximizing Egg Freshness

Proper Storage

To maximize the freshness of eggs, it is important to store them properly. Keep eggs refrigerated at a consistent temperature of around 40°F (4°C) in their original carton to protect them from temperature fluctuations and odors.

Date Labeling

Labeling eggs with the date of purchase or the date of laying can help to keep track of their freshness. Use a marker or a pen to write the date on each egg to ensure that you are using the oldest eggs first.

Egg Rotation

Practice egg rotation to ensure that the oldest eggs are used first. Place fresh eggs at the back of the carton and move the older eggs to the front. This way, you can easily keep track of the freshness of each egg and avoid using eggs that are no longer fresh.

Avoiding Cross-Contamination

To prevent bacterial contamination, it is important to avoid cross-contamination between eggs and other foods. Always handle eggs with clean hands, separate them from other foods, and clean surfaces and utensils that come in contact with raw eggs.

Health Risks of Consuming Old Eggs

Salmonella Infection

One of the major health risks associated with consuming old eggs is the risk of Salmonella infection. Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can cause foodborne illness, commonly known as salmonellosis. Symptoms of salmonellosis may include diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and fever. It is crucial to handle and consume eggs safely to prevent the risk of Salmonella infection.

Food Poisoning

Consuming old eggs can increase the risk of food poisoning. As eggs age, the natural defense mechanisms of the egg against harmful bacteria can degrade, making them more susceptible to contamination. Eating eggs that are no longer fresh or properly stored can lead to foodborne illnesses and gastrointestinal issues.

Egg Freshness vs. Egg Quality

Egg Aging

As eggs age, their freshness diminishes and the quality of the egg may also decline. The aging process can affect various aspects of the egg, such as the appearance, taste, texture, and nutritional value. It is important to consume eggs within their recommended consumption time to ensure optimal freshness and quality.

Egg Quality Degradation

The quality of an egg can deteriorate over time, even if its freshness is still within an acceptable range. An older egg may have a thinner egg white and a weaker yolk membrane, which can affect its cooking properties and overall quality. While older eggs can still be safe to eat, they may not produce the same culinary results as fresh eggs.


Egg freshness is influenced by various factors such as chicken breed, storage conditions, temperature, humidity, and egg washing. It is important to properly determine the freshness of eggs using methods like candling, the float test, egg smell, and egg yolk appearance. Storing eggs at the right temperature and duration is crucial to maintaining their freshness and preventing bacterial contamination. Consuming fresh eggs offers higher nutritional value, better taste, and texture. Different countries have specific guidelines for egg freshness, storage, and labeling. Maximizing egg freshness can be achieved through proper storage, date labeling, egg rotation, and avoiding cross-contamination. Consuming old eggs can pose health risks such as reduced nutritional value, Salmonella infection, and food poisoning. Egg freshness should not be confused with egg quality, as both can degrade over time. It is recommended to consume eggs within their recommended consumption time for optimal freshness and quality.