A handful of countries, including America, recommends that eggs be stored in the fridge, whereas most European countries leave eggs on their countertop.
Both methods make sense in efforts to prevent food poisoning, especially from a Salmonella outbreak.
Salmonella is a type of bacteria that lives in the intestines of many warm-blooded animals. The bacteria can run rampant through farms due to contamination from dirt and feces.
The infection can cause unpleasant symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting. It is especially dangerous for children, older adults, and those with compromised immune systems.
Therefore, how eggs are handled, stored, and cooked, is essential in preventing the outbreaks that happened during the 1970s and 1980s.
In the United States, Japan, Australia, and a handful of other countries, eggs must be sterilized before they reach the stores.
The sterilization process gets rid of bacteria and potential contamination, but also strips away a thin protective layer, called the cuticle, making the eggshell more preamble by bacteria.
To keep bacteria to a minimum, commercial eggs are required to be stored and transported below 45°F (7°C).
Once eggs are refrigerated, they will need to stay refrigerated to prevent condensation when they are warmed up since the moisture makes it easier for bacteria to penetrate the eggshell.
Contrary to the above, countries in Europe and other regions are against washing and sterilizing eggs.
Instead, they opt to keep the cuticle intact and require farmers to improve farm sanitation and vaccinate egg-laying hens against Salmonella to prevent infection.
Refrigeration was also discouraged in supermarkets to prevent condensation when the eggs come back to room temperature on your way home.
Both approaches have since been proven to be effective in preventing outbreaks.
However, if you do not plan to consume them in a short period, they are still best to be kept in the fridge. Cold temperature can halt the bacteria growth and keep eggs fresh for longer.Best Practices
Don't store in the refrigerator doors
Most people keep eggs in their fridge door. Why else would there be an egg tray right?
Contrary to the belief, storing eggs at the fridge door could subject them to temperature fluctuation since it gets opened and closed regularly. This could also impair the egg's protective membranes and encourage bacterial growth.
The best place to keep your eggs fresh is on the shelf near the back of your fridge.
Keep the rounded side up
The larger, rounder side of an egg contains an air pocket that can help keep the yolk more centered and in turn, helps the eggs stay fresh for longer.
The egg carton should be kept closed at all time
Especially for sterilized eggs, the washing process strips away the protective layers on the shell which makes thousands of tiny pores more easily permeated by odors in the fridge.
Keeping the egg carton closed can help to block out and absorbing some of the smells.
Never reuse egg cartons
They are designed specifically for one-time use. Since the eggshells are permeable, it can be possible for bacteria on the reused cartons to contaminate the rest of the eggs.
Keep other foods in airtight containers
To prevent fresh eggs from soaking up odors in your fridge, always keep foods in air-tight containers.
Besides, that should have already been best practice for food safety right?
So, should you store eggs in the fridge?
Whether keeping eggs in the refrigerator is necessary largely depends on your location.
When refrigerated, eggs can have a longer shelf life and cold temperature can impede bacteria from entering the eggshell.
If you're unsure, storing them in the fridge is always the safer way to go.