Fertile eggs at the grocery store? ****Picture Added Page 4****


10 Years
May 18, 2009
Ok, so I've seen a couple posts about buying and hatching grocery store eggs. I was at Whole Foods the other day and they do indeed have a bunch of eggs labled as "Fertile." My husband and I are perplexed as to why anyone would go out of their way for these (except some people looking for some mystery in their hatches). I know free range chicken eggs CAN be fertile, but they aren't labeled this way. So what is the purpose of them? Oh, and I couldn't help myself since I had just put eggs in the bator that day to buy a dozen and see what happens
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Someone once mentioned that they're for balut. It's an Asian thing. They let the egg develop a bit then eat it.

There's also the factor that if hens have access to a rooster, their living conditions are probably better than other commercial laying hens.
Those would not be for Balut as it would not be old enough. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balut_(egg))
The age of the egg before it can be cooked is a matter of local preference. In the Philippines, the ideal balut is 17 days old, at which point it is said to be balut sa puti ("wrapped in white"). The chick inside is not old enough to show its beak, feathers or claws and the bones are undeveloped. The Vietnamese prefer their balut matured from 19 days up to 21 days, when the chick is old enough to be recognizable as a baby duck and has bones that will be firm but tender when cooked. In Cambodia, it is eaten while it is still warm in its shell. It is served with nothing more than a little garnish, which is usually a mixture of lime juice and ground pepper.

The USDA (http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Focus_on_Shell_Eggs/index.asp) says:
Are Fertilized Eggs More Nutritious?
No. There is no benefit in eating fertilized eggs. There is no nutritional difference in fertilized eggs and infertile eggs. Most eggs sold today are infertile; roosters are not housed with the laying hens. If the eggs are fertile and cell development is detected during the candling process, they are removed from commerce.

And the Canadian egg marketing agency website (http://www.eggs.ca/nutrition/faqs/info.asp) says:
Can I eat a fertilized egg?

Yes. Most eggs sold today are infertile because there are no roosters housed with the laying hens. But fertile eggs can be found at roadside stands or health food stores. There are no nutritional differences between fertile and infertile eggs.

If fertile eggs are not incubated, there will be no development of the embryo and no way to distinguish them from infertile eggs. If fertile eggs are properly incubated for a few days, development of the embryo should be visible when the eggs are candled, and federal regulations prohibit their use as human food.​
FrenchHen, what I meant was that I don't believe eggs that are being sold in stores labeled fertile would even be viable for incubation to make balut - commercial eggs must be stored at 45° F (7.2° C) or cooler.

Upon receipt, retail establishments promptly must store and display the eggs at an ambient (air) temperature of 45° F (7.2° C) or cooler.​
Support the roosters!

It's a hard life for a rooster...they're commercially useless, they're jerks and they're noisy. That's why I would buy fertile eggs...save a rooster's life!

I'm just repeating what I've read on here.

I think more likely it's the indication that the chickens had decent living conditions compared to battery hens. And a folk wisdom that they're healthier than sterile eggs.
There are folks who believe that fertile eggs, being more natural, are healthier than infertile eggs. Right or wrong, it's their belief and I certainly wouldn't argue the point. Nearly all eggs used to be fertile when produced, (100 years ago). The practice of selling infertile eggs came about for a couple of reasons. Roosters eat feed and provide nothing to the egg farmer, and if an infertile egg is stored improperly, (too warm), it will not start to develop, so can still be sold.


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