So you left eggs out overnight? Don’t worry, it happens to all of us. You’re busy baking or breakfasting and they get forgotten. How long can eggs sit out? And can I safely use them?
Refrigerated eggs should be left out no longer than 2 hours, according to the USDA. This is because of salmonella and condensation on a cold egg. In countries that don’t refrigerate their eggs, this 2-hour rule doesn’t apply. Unwashed eggs will safely last 2 weeks unrefrigerated.
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Refrigeration Requirement Depends on Location
Eggs don’t need to be refrigerated everywhere. The world is basically divided into countries that refrigerate their eggs and ones that don’t.
If you live in the United States, Canada, Japan, or Australia you probably grew up putting your supermarket eggs in the fridge.
The first part of this guide is for you. And if you’re living or visiting another country, the second part of this article will help.
How Long Can Eggs Sit Out?
Refrigerated eggs should not be left out for more than 2 hours, according to the Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.
If you’ve left them out longer than two hours, disposal is the safest decision.
Why Refrigeration Matters
Refrigerated eggs left on the counter will sweat (condensation from temperature differential). This allows the movement of bacteria (like Salmonella) into and across the egg.
Here’s what the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) says about why eggs should be refrigerated.
Why should eggs be refrigerated?USDA.gov
Temperature fluctuation is critical to safety. With the concern about Salmonella, eggs gathered from laying hens should be refrigerated as soon as possible. After eggs are refrigerated, they need to stay that way. A cold egg left out at room temperature can sweat, facilitating the movement of bacteria into the egg and increasing the growth of bacteria.
What Countries Refrigerate Eggs?
The list of countries that refrigerate their eggs is pretty short: United States, Canada, Australia, or Japan.
Did I miss one? Let me know below.
How Long Can Unwashed Eggs Last on Your Counter?
Unwashed and unrefrigerated eggs can last about 2 weeks on your counter.
A general rule, unwashed eggs will last around two weeks unrefrigerated and about three months or more in your refrigerator. If you’re experiencing an egg boom, it’s smart to refrigerate any unwashed fresh eggs you aren’t planning to eat immediately. This will help them last longer. Or give them away to friends or family.Purina Mills
Washed eggs must be refrigerated and will last around two months in the refrigerator.
You can extend the life of your unwashed eggs by putting them in the fridge. You can get up to 3 months of life from refrigerated, unwashed eggs.
Keep reading: Farm to Table Guide
2 Ways To Make Eggs Last Longer
There are two things you can do to make your eggs last longer.
- Don’t Wash Them: Washing your eggs will remove the protective cuticle, exposing the porous shell to bacteria, like salmonella.
- Refrigerate Them: So while you don’t have to refrigerate unwashed eggs, it will make them last longer.
What if you buy refrigerated eggs, can you leave them on the counter? No, not according to Vincent Guyonnet, a poultry veterinarian and scientific adviser to the International Egg Commission.
Here’s what he has to say: “Once you start refrigeration, you have to have it through the whole value chain, from farm to store. Because if you stop — if the eggs are cold and you put them in a warm environment — they’re going to start sweating.”
How do you keep your eggs safe and lasting a long time? I would love to hear about your experiences and sources below.
More reading: How long does chicken liver last?
- About the Author
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Bryan Haines is a co-founder and writer on Tasty Plate – and is working to make it the best food blog in the world.
While living in South America, Bryan enjoyed learning about new foods and preparation methods. Back in Nova Scotia, he enjoys growing food in the backyard. And then preparing it with traditional (and non-traditional) methods and ingredients.
He is also co-founder of Storyteller Media, a company he started with his wife, Dena.