Countless searches of mine regarding this topic has left me more confused than ever. I realize that other countries leave eggs out on a shelf at room temp, whereas here in the US the general attitude is to refrigerate. I am also aware of the fact that if the eggs have not been washed, leaving the cuticle in tact, they are safe to leave out for a certain period of time (a week or so?) at room temp.
Here's my dilemma: I have my own flock that produces more eggs than I can consume so I sell some to co-workers. It's winter and I do not have a heated/insulated coop so by the time I collect the eggs, they are already cold (my hens don't sit on the eggs). I do not wash them and my co-workers are aware and are actually happy that I don't. They have asked me if, since they are fresh and unwashed, if it's ok to leave them out on their counter? My response is always, "since the refrigeration process has already begun, I would continue to keep them refrigerated to be on the safe side."
I hate giving them this response due to my confusion on this subject....I would really appreciate some hard facts on the topic, especially if they have already been cold....keep refrigerated? Ok to leave out? I've read about the possibility of bacteria leaching into the pores of the shell if a cold eggs is at room temp and starts to sweat. That was enough for me to just keep them refrigerated.
I know this may fall under a frequently asked question but since the eggs my hens lay are cold before I have time to collect them, I feel the only thing I can do in good conscience is to continue to refrigerate them and tell co-workers to do the same to prevent anyone from getting sick.