Are these eggs safe to eat?
September 25, 2012 1:10 PM   Subscribe

I thawed a chicken in the refrigerator and it leaked uncooked chicken juice all over the shelf. The cardboard egg carton full of eggs that was also on the shelf is now fully saturated with raw chicken juice. Can raw eggs in their shell absorb liquids like raw chicken juice? Are the eggs safe to eat? Even if soft boiled or fried over easy?
posted by ms_rasclark to Food & Drink (25 answers total)
Considering they spend the first part of their lives saturated in chicken POOP, I'd say you're probably OK. Rinse the shells with a bleach solution if you're worried.

NB: I'm an "eat it!" outlier.
posted by KathrynT at 1:13 PM on September 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

Do not rinse the eggs with bleach. Just rinse them and put them back in the fridge in a new container.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:15 PM on September 25, 2012 [3 favorites]

Eggs can certainly absorb liquid through the shell (have you ever dyed Easter eggs?). But you should be just fine assuming you cook them first. The risk of salmonella you get from uncooked chicken is the same risk that eggs have, as they are both coming from the same animals. If you aren't worried about lightly-cooked eggs in general, there's no reason to worry extra about eggs that have come into contact with the insides of a chicken. As it turns out, all eggs do this.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 1:15 PM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Eggs are rather porous (wikipedia sez a hen's egg has 7500 pores on average) so please don't wash them with bleach.
posted by griphus at 1:16 PM on September 25, 2012

No. Throw them away.

Eggs can absorb contaminants from any liquid that is at the same temperature as the egg; that's why you have to wash newly laid eggs in warm water (which makes the egg swell and blocks the pores in the shell).

Throw them away. It will cost you a lot more to get salmonella than to replace the eggs.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:16 PM on September 25, 2012 [3 favorites]

(I mean, plenty of the food you eat has come in contact with bleach in some shape or form, but unless you know the "won't make you ill" bleach:water ratio, I'd avoid putting bleach in my food.)
posted by griphus at 1:17 PM on September 25, 2012

Meh. If you cook them well enough there shouldn't be a problem.

If anyone in your house is immuno-compromised or a little kid or old, then no, don't serve them these eggs, but anyone else should be fine.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:18 PM on September 25, 2012

Rinsing the eggs at this stage will just get more liquid inside the shell, people. Throw these eggs away.

The reason fresh-laid eggs don't absorb contaminants is that they're coated with a very thin layer of mucus from the hen's cloaca. When eggs are processed for sale, they're washed in water at least ten degrees warmer than the eggs, so that the albumen swells and blocks the pores in the shell. Once you've got the eggs home from the store, they have no protective mucus layer, so anything that gets on them gets into the shell.

There is a much higher risk of salmonella from uncooked chicken than there is from a raw egg.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:20 PM on September 25, 2012 [14 favorites]

Commercial eggs are coated with mineral oil which seals the pores in the shell, so there's at least some protection against things spilled on them. (If they're farm fresh eggs, they'll have their natural coating, which is even better.) Assuming you wouldn't be eating them raw anyway (if you're afraid of salmonella), cooking them should make them perfectly safe to eat. If you think about it, the USDA doesn't even recommend rinsing raw chicken prior to cooking, so once it's all cooked it's fine.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 1:22 PM on September 25, 2012

Commercial eggs are coated with mineral oil

In the US, only 10% of eggs are sprayed with mineral oil.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:25 PM on September 25, 2012

Sidhedevil has the correct answer.
posted by HotToddy at 1:26 PM on September 25, 2012

10% figure comes from here. Since, as Slate says, the egg producers don't need to say whether they applied mineral oil...

I seriously wouldn't take the chance. I know eggs aren't cheap, but.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:27 PM on September 25, 2012

I'd just hard-boil the suckers and eat 'em.

I mean, you're not going to throw out the chicken... don't see any need to toss out the eggs. Just cook the suckers off.
posted by grudgebgon at 1:31 PM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Toss them, do not eat those eggs. Yes, eggshells are porous (I came in to say the same thing about easter egg dye that tylerkaraszewski said!), plus there's that salmonella worry. If you had cooked them immediately after they'd gotten the chicken juices it might've been okay, maybe kinda sorta....

Oh, and one additional thing to consider: even if they were still safe to eat, they'd probably taste weird, with the chicken blood and stuff soaked in there.
posted by easily confused at 1:33 PM on September 25, 2012

You'd eat the cooked chicken in the chicken juice, so why not eat the eggs? I'd cook and eat, but definitely not after rising in bleach! You sure as hell wouldn't rinse the chicken in bleach...
posted by cgg at 1:34 PM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Wow, I walked away to prep my chicken and came back to FIFTEEN answers. Ask Metafilter community, I love you! After having my arms up to my elbows in raw chicken juice, I'm kinda grossed out by the idea of eating eggs that have been soaked in the stuff. They're probably just fine, but I'm leaning toward tossing them out. The chicken, on the other hand, which is now stuffed under the skin with lots of garlic, orange, cilantro, jalepeno peppers, and other assorted spices should ease the pain of losing the eggs.
posted by ms_rasclark at 1:47 PM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's just eggs. Personally I would eat the hell out of delicious chicken-soaked eggs, but if you're spending more than 30 seconds thinking about it just toss them.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 2:06 PM on September 25, 2012

For my personal "eew" factor, definitely not sunnyside up and probably not scrambled, but I'd be 100% totally fine with hardboiled. Soft-boiled eggs should also be fine, since the outside part of the white (the part that chicken juices could possibly have been in contact with) is cooked firm.
posted by aimedwander at 3:15 PM on September 25, 2012

there's no way i would eat them, and i'm an eat-anything person
posted by facetious at 3:17 PM on September 25, 2012

That's classic cross contamination. Don't eat the eggs. What does a dozen eggs cost, $2? $4 if you go organic? Not worth it even a little bit.
posted by gjc at 3:29 PM on September 25, 2012

"there's no way i would eat them, and i'm an eat-anything person"
Seconding this. At their most expensive, eggs are not expensive. It's not worth the risk.
posted by Dolley at 5:35 PM on September 25, 2012

The "don't eat it" answers are utterly illogical. If the chicken is still fresh enough to cook and eat, then the chicken-soaked eggs are too.
posted by parrot_person at 7:19 PM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

The chicken may be fresh, but eggs soaked in meat juices is different:

-The chicken is being cooked now. The eggs are unlikely to be all cooked at the same time, and even if they were they've already been sitting in the meat juice. Eggs have a nutrient rich environment that spoils easily if something can get past the shell's pores. (see above)
-Eggs are often not cooked as much as chicken. A lot of people like them runny, or even raw. Again, dangerous if these eggs are contaminated.
-The chance of samonella isn't worth the risk, and losing the eggs is only the loss of a few bucks. Getting samonella would be much more expensive, and it's not pleasant either.

So yeah- sure, it's possible that the eggs could be ok, but the risk vs. reward is pretty bad. Eggs are cheap, and as anyone who ever caught samonella, it's much worse than the flu and potentially fatal. Because of the chicken juice, the risk is much, much higher than normal.
posted by Aliera at 12:46 AM on September 26, 2012

Plant them and grow some egg trees.
posted by Th!nk at 1:17 AM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

1) They're probably fine.
2) If they are not fine, you risk salmonella poisoning.

They're @$#%ing eggs. Toss them and buy new ones if they make you even a little squeamish.
posted by chairface at 8:33 AM on September 26, 2012

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