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How Long Do Eggs Last?

How Long Do Eggs Last?


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We're often asked about egg safety as figure and bikini competitors are large consumers of eggs and egg products. So here's some information straight from the USDA to help you to make sound decisions when it comes to keeping you and your family healthy.

To ensure food safety when using eggs, USDA's Meat and Poultry Hotline suggests that consumers do the following:

- Buy eggs before the "Sell-By" or "EXP" (expiration) date on the carton.

- Always buy eggs from a refrigerated case. Choose eggs with clean, uncracked shells.

- Take eggs straight home from the grocery store and refrigerate them right away. Check to be sure your refrigerator is set at 40F or below. Don't take eggs out of the carton to put them in the refrigerator - the carton protects them. Keep the eggs in the coldest part of the refrigerator - not on the door.

- Always wash your hands with warm water and soap before and after handling raw eggs. To avoid cross-contamination, wash forks, knives, spoons and all counters and other surfaces that touch the eggs with hot water and soap.

- If eggs remain at room temperature for more than two hours, then they should not be eaten.


Q - Can I eat eggs that have been left out without being refrigerated?

A -- The total time for leaving eggs out should be no more than two hours.

Since the hard-cooked eggs that are usually served to each person as part of the special dinner are meant to be eaten, keep those eggs in the refrigerator until ready to serve. When shell eggs are hard-cooked, the protective coating is washed away, leaving open pores in the shell where harmful bacteria could enter. Be sure to refrigerate eggs within two hours of cooking and use them within a week. Check your refrigerator temperature with an appliance thermometer and adjust the refrigerator temperature to 40F (Fahrenheit) or below.

Q - How long do eggs and egg dishes keep when stored in the refrigerator?

A -- Raw shell eggs in the carton can stay in your refrigerator for three to five weeks from the purchase date. Although the "Sell-By" date might pass during that time, the eggs are still safe to use. (The date is not required by federal law, but some states may require it.)

Egg dishes such as deviled eggs or egg salad should be used within three to four days. And hard-cooked eggs should be eaten within a week.

If you have a question about meat, poultry or egg products, then call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline toll free at 1-888-MPHotline or 1-888-674-6854, TTY: 1-800-256-7072. You can call the year-round hotline Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 pm. EST (English or Spanish).

Author: Kristin Shaffer

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