Can I eat it, eggy edition?
October 21, 2014 6:21 PM   Subscribe

I'm a dummy and left 2 dozen raw eggs in the carton overnight in my car; I forgot to bring them in after grocery shopping. They've been unrefrigerated for about 24 hours, and my car's been in various garages the whole time, probably 15-20 C. The carton says to keep refrigerated, but do they really mean it?

Isn't there some controversy over whether or not eggs need to be refrigerated? These are regular decent quality large white grocery store sold in canada eggs. I have a pretty strong stomach (and it'd just be me consuming them) but for the sake of $8 my tolerance level for salmonella risk is pretty low. That being said, they'd be cooked at least over-medium if they were to be kept.

Keep, or toss?
posted by cgg to Health & Fitness (32 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My parents have chickens, and even on very hot summer days, generally will not collect the eggs until late afternoon or evening. Sometimes they will even miss a day. We've never had any problems. I can't speak to the different between free range chickens and whatever produces eggs at the store, but my guess is that you're fine. If you're particularly worried, wash them with vinegar before cracking them open. My understanding is that you are most likely to get contamination from the outside of the shell rather than have it start inside. For an egg to get stinky rotten generally takes a period of weeks.
posted by Caduceus at 6:26 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

They are fine, while it's true that North American eggs do not last as long on the counter as European eggs 24 hours is fine.
posted by Cosine at 6:27 PM on October 21, 2014

Ooooo. That's a toughie. Hm.

I don't refrigerate farmer's market eggs, but I do fridge grocery eggs. My understanding is that grocery eggs are washed and the natural "protective" coating is washed away.

Other countries I've lived or travel to don't refrigerate. I'm in the US.

I reckon you're fine, but personally, I would toss them.

I also toss eggs older than two weeks because I'm really finicky.

So, likely this is OK.
posted by jbenben at 6:28 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

It's fine. I would break them into an empty bowl. You'll be able to tell if they've gone bad.
posted by chaiminda at 6:28 PM on October 21, 2014 [4 favorites]

honestly I'm not sure about your eggs, but the difference between a just-laid egg and an egg from an American supermarket where eggs are sold cold, is that the supermarket eggs have the cuticle washed off. The presence of the cuticle is what lets other countries sell eggs unrefrigerated. So don't use data on freshly laid eggs or otherwise unwashed eggs in your calculation. Washed eggs spoil much faster.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:29 PM on October 21, 2014 [10 favorites]

I worked on a remote island for several years. We had minimal refrigeration and always left the store-bought eggs out in the pantry for days on end, nobody ever got sick.
posted by mareli at 6:29 PM on October 21, 2014

Usa eggs are washed to clean them, but also removes the protective coating that seals bacteria out, and must be refrigerated as a result.

Unwashed eggs are sold unfrigerated, mostly Europe I believe.

I don't know what Canada does, but if they are sold refrigerated, they need to stay refrigerated.
posted by TheAdamist at 6:30 PM on October 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

The protective coating is washed off with a factory egg. This allows bacteria to penetrate the shell. If it was a homegrown, unwashed egg -- I'd say definitely YES. But with a factory egg, I'd say you might want to toss. (Although -- I myself would personally break one open and sniff it. If it smelled OK, I'd still eat it -- just cooked well.)
posted by RingerChopChop at 6:31 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

US grocery store eggs don't last as long as some, but my mother always leaves them out overnight before hard boiling them, and has done this since I was a kid, and to my knowledge nobody's ever gotten sick from it and she insists the eggs peel easier. I don't do it because I never think the previous day about how I'm going to totally hard boil eggs tomorrow. Yeah, it's hard boiling, but--I think they're probably fine if they were pretty fresh beforehand.
posted by Sequence at 6:33 PM on October 21, 2014

Just a piece of anecdotal anecdote- AUSTRALIAN supermarkets don't refrigerate their eggs. Ever.
posted by taff at 6:34 PM on October 21, 2014

I have brought US eggs camping in weather warmer than this. I would cook them soon and eat them.
posted by advicepig at 6:39 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

They're fine. There is a difference in how North American eggs are treated, but I wouldn't think twice.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 6:39 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I teach painting and every year I buy several dozen eggs for my students to paint as a beginning project. The eggs are out all day and night in a studio that sits at about 22C. I pick the eggs up the next day, take them home and use them to cook up a ton of cakes and cookies. We have suffered no ill effects thus far. I live in Canada.

I vote totally fine. Furthermore, you should make lots of cookies.
posted by Cuke at 6:42 PM on October 21, 2014

I'd eat them. Even with the protective coating washed off like they do in the US, the bacteria still has to get through the shell & membrane inside, in the very unlikely chance that your eggs are in an environment that will introduce salmonella to then. If in doubt cook the eggs well & eat promptly. Or throw them out, it's only $8 bucks and food poisoning sucks.
posted by wwax at 6:53 PM on October 21, 2014

I'd say you should eat them. I even found this article that says that the washing procedure used did not changed the quality of the cuticle. Of course, maybe the U.S. washing procedure is much tougher than the Swedish referred to in the study.

Anyway, I live in a hot tropical country and we never refrigerate our eggs.
posted by Lingasol at 6:57 PM on October 21, 2014

The eggs should be fine.

I buy my eggs from the market where they in the shade, and once home I just leave them atop my counter. Usually they last me a week, maybe more, I'm still alive... but ymmv XD
posted by TrinsicWS at 7:24 PM on October 21, 2014

Another vote for fine. Just this weekend I took a dozen refrigerated grocery eggs camping and there wasn't room in the cooler for them so they sat out. We ate them and had no bad results.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 7:38 PM on October 21, 2014

I'd eat them with no hesitation.
posted by quince at 7:51 PM on October 21, 2014

Not only are your eggs fine, but the moment you crack one you'd totally know if they weren't.

If you're really concerned, crack the first one outdoors.
posted by pompomtom at 7:55 PM on October 21, 2014

I haven't refrigerated eggs on a regular basis in years, and I've never had an egg go bad. Unless my conversion from C to F is wrong, you had the eggs at room temperature and they should be fine.
posted by lunasol at 7:57 PM on October 21, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks all. I'll give them a go tomorrow for breakfast, barring any serious egg-funkiness. From the responses here I'm pretty confident they wont kill me. Plus, I really don't want to go back out to the store!
posted by cgg at 7:57 PM on October 21, 2014

I used to have a roomie who was a musician and travelled with a hot plate and some cookware to use in cheap hotels he'd stay in on the road. He always took eggs and never refrigerated them (because there was no fridge.) He is alive to this day.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:06 PM on October 21, 2014

Yeah, they'll be totally fine.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 8:34 PM on October 21, 2014

Eggs really let you know when they're bad. They're honest that way.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:36 PM on October 21, 2014 [5 favorites]

Don't forget, in real life the hen sits on the egg. Eggs like to be warm.
posted by salishsea at 12:34 AM on October 22, 2014

Stick 'em in water. If they float, they are bad. If they sink, they are good.
posted by Wysawyg at 4:31 AM on October 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

People who cruise in small sailboats keep eggs unrefrigerated for weeks. Not a problem.
posted by SemiSalt at 5:10 AM on October 22, 2014

"That's a toughie"? Wut?

I sometimes understand where people are coming from in the "can I eat it" questions even if I invariably recommend not wasting the food.

The use of C rather than F doesn't make it clear whether they have been washed or not but either way, the eggs are 100% fine.

I never refrigerate eggs and leave them in ~20C heat for well over a month before eating them very undercooked. Never close to being an issue.
posted by turkeyphant at 6:10 AM on October 22, 2014

Strictly speaking, if they sink they are fresh and if they float they are older and some moisture has evaporated out. I think.
posted by glasseyes at 7:36 AM on October 22, 2014

I would not even think twice about eating these, for another data point. Enjoy your delicious eggs!
posted by goo at 10:30 AM on October 22, 2014

These eggs are just fine.

The rule of egg goodness:
If they sink in a container of water, they're fresh.
If they stand on end but are still touching the bottom of the water container, they're getting older & should be used within a day or two. The yolk tends to break, so they're better in baked goods or for scrambled eggs rather than fried.
If they float at the top of the water container, pick them up very carefully and get them as far away as possible before they break. I recommend double-bagging them before taking to the trash.

I have dealt with several rotten eggs recently. (We have free-range chickens who like to hide them. When we eventually stumble across a stash, we have no idea when they were laid. These were apparently a few months old.) You will know without a doubt if they are rotten.
posted by belladonna at 6:41 PM on October 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

To add to belladonna's (excellent) rules: When they're standing on their ends, but still touching the bottom, they'll be great for hard boiling. The air pocket that makes them stand on one end also makes them easy to shell.
posted by pompomtom at 6:56 PM on October 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

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