Date Codes on Store Eggs & Other Useful Info


8 Years
I thought I knew what the date codes meant, but since we're just getting into selling to the general public I thought I'd check. Went to the USDA site and found that I was right, but my knowledge was incomplete:
Dating of Cartons
Egg processors typically print dates commonly called "Code Dates" on cartons for purposes of rotating stock or controlling inventory. "EXP," "Sell By," and "Best if Used Before" are examples of terminology used for code dating. Use of code dates on USDA graded eggs is optional; however, if they are used, certain rules must be followed.

If an expiration date is used, it must be printed in month/day format and preceded by the appropriate prefix. "EXP," "Sell By," and "Not to be sold after the date at the end of the carton" are examples of expiration dates. Expiration dates can be no more than 30 days from the day the eggs were packed into the carton.

Another type of code dating used indicates the recommended maximum length of time that the consumer can expect eggs to maintain their quality when stored under ideal conditions. Terminology such as "Use by", "Use before", "Best before" indicates a period that the eggs should be consumed before overall quality diminishes. Code dating using these terms may not exceed 45 days including the day the eggs were packed into the carton.

Being the curious fellow I am I started looking at some of the other topics and found yet another of particular interest:
Should you wash eggs?
No. It's not necessary or recommended for consumers to wash eggs and may actually increase the risk of contamination because the wash water can be "sucked" into the egg through the pores in the shell When the chicken lays the egg, a protective coating is put on the outside by the hen. Government regulations require that USDA-graded eggs be carefully washed and sanitized using only compounds meeting FDA regulations for processing foods.

Putting these two facts together I have surmised two things: (1.) Not only can store-bought eggs be over 45 days old, but (2.) the protective coating that the hen put on them has been washed off.

There's lots of information on this page, some useful, some just interesting. One of my faves is how 1000 year eggs are made. I can highly recommend it to those who have a bent for learning.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom