Written by Cecilia Snyder, MS, RD top top July 20, 2021 — medically reviewed through Katherine Marengo LDN, R.D., Nutrition

Eggs room a staple food in households roughly the world.

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They’re a nutritious and also affordable source of protein. Plus, they make a quick meal any kind of time that day, therefore it’s no wonder human being like to keep eggs on hand.

However, if you’ve ever left a carton of egg sitting in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, friend may have actually wondered whether they were still safe to eat.

Egg cartons often have a date printed ~ above them, such as a “best before” or “sell by” date. These dates make it much easier to know how old the eggs are.

But if you keep them properly, eggs deserve to actually last far past their expiration date and still be safe to eat.

So the brief answer is yes, it can be safe to eat expired eggs.

On the various other hand, eggs that have been contaminated or save on computer improperly can spoil and also contain harmful bacteria. Thus, it’s vital to recognize the difference in between eggs that are expired but safe and eggs that are spoiled.

This short article explains as soon as it’s for sure to eat expired eggs and also how to keep your eggs because that maximum freshness.

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How lengthy do eggs last?
In-shell egg that have actually been washed and stored in the refrigerator remain fresh because that an average of 3–5 weeks (1).

Compared with other perishable proteins, egg actually have actually a notably much longer shelf life. Once they’ve been opened, most milk and meats stay fresh in the frozen refrigerator for only 1 mainly at most (1).

Still, once you buy egg at the store, it deserve to be difficult to know how long they’ve been sitting on the shelf and also how much longer they’ll remain fresh when you lug them home.

This is where date labels published on egg cartons come in handy. Date labels help you determine just how long your eggs will remain fresh and also safe come eat.

Eggs are regularly labeled v the date they were processed and packed or one expiration date, though some eggs may not have any type of date labels at all, depending on the source and the regulation in her area.

Here space a few of the most common date labels on egg cartons in the United says (2):

Best-by. The eggs will certainly be at top quality and flavor if friend eat them before this date, i beg your pardon is collection by the manufacturer. As lengthy as the egg don’t display signs that spoilage, they deserve to still be sold and are taken into consideration safe come eat ~ this date.Sell-by. This day can it is in no much more than 30 days after the pack date of the eggs. At the sell-by date, the eggs might be around 4 main old.EXP. Shorthand because that “expiration,” this is another means to label a “sell-by” date.Pack date. This note the job the eggs to be processed and also packed into the carton. It’s shown as a three-digit number native 1–365. This technique numbers the job of the year consecutively, for this reason January 1 is 001, January 2 is 002, December 31 is 365, and also so on.

With ideal storage, eggs typically stay new 3–5 weeks past the pack date — the date they to be gathered, cleaned, and also stored in refrigeration.

After 5 weeks, your eggs might start to decrease in freshness. They could lose flavor and color, and also the texture can even be rather altered. As the weeks go on, egg will continue to lessen in quality also if girlfriend refrigerate them.

Still, as long as they remain cost-free of contamination from bacteria or mold, they may still be for sure to eat for days or main longer.


Eggs have an average shelf life of 3–5 weeks. With proper storage, many eggs are still safe to eat after ~ 5 weeks, though your quality and also freshness will likely begin to decline.

Eggs room a notoriously high hazard food for the expansion of Salmonella, a kind of bacteria that live in and affect the digestive tracts the animals and also humans (6, 7, 8).

Salmonella bacteria are one of the most common causes of foodborne illness, bring about side effects like fever, stomach pain, vomiting, and also diarrhea (4).

It’s feasible that Salmonella can be current on the within or outside of eggs as soon as you to buy them. The bacteria could likewise continue come multiply even while eggs room in the refrigerator.

This way that even if you doing everything right as soon as it concerns storing fresh eggs, there might still be a little chance you can get noble from Salmonella.

The best way to stop contracting a foodborne disease from a contaminated egg is to constantly cook your eggs to a minimum interior temperature that 160°F (71°C) (3, 7, 9).

No kitchen thermometer top top hand? not to issue — just be sure to cook your eggs till the yolks are firm and also the whites are no much longer runny or translucent.

Who need to avoid expired eggs?

Some teams of world may be an ext susceptible 보다 others to obtaining sick from eggs.

Because young children, older adults, and also people with continuous illnesses are at a higher risk that contracting Salmonella, it may be best for lock to avoid expired, spoiled, and raw egg altogether (3, 4).

Most human being recover from Salmonella infections, and their symptom subside after only a couple of days. However, in high-risk populations, the condition is an ext concerning since it can reason life threaten complications that require hospitalization.


Eggs that space expired yet not spoiled may still be perfectly fine to eat. However, eating old eggs that have actually been damaged or contaminated puts friend at danger of obtaining sick native contracting the foodborne bacterium Salmonella.

Just because an egg has actually passed the day label displayed on that carton, that doesn’t necessarily average it has actually gone bad.

Nevertheless, the expiration date is one useful tool you have the right to use to identify whether eggs have actually spoiled.

If the eggs are still in ~ a few days or weeks of the expiration date and you’ve been storing castle safely in the refrigerator, opportunities are lock haven’t gone bad — despite they might have begun to decrease in quality.

If the eggs space well previous the expiration date on the carton, you probably need to assess them further prior to deciding if castle still for sure to eat.

Here room a couple of simple means to decision if eggs have actually spoiled:

Smell them. cooked or raw, a spoiled egg will likely give off a strong, foul odor. In part cases, you may have the ability to smell a rotten egg with its shell, however the smell will definitely be noticeable as soon as you cracked the egg open.Look castle over, inside and also out. an egg the is safe to eat should not have any kind of cracks or slime top top its shell, signs of mold, or apparent discoloration come the yolk or white.Go through your gut. together the saying goes, “When in doubt, throw it out.” If a gut feeling tells you that your eggs have started come spoil, it’s best not come eat them.Summary

Some indicators that eggs have spoiled room a solid or foul odor comes from the within or outside, slime or mold farming on the shell, and also discolored white skin - man or yolks.

Though egg won’t critical forever, ideal cleaning and also storage have the right to keep them safe and fresh for a surprisingly long time. These approaches also help prevent the development of bacteria (10).

Here a couple of things to consider when she storing eggs because that safety and a lengthy shelf life:

1. Know if your eggs are washed

Many civilization store their eggs in the refrigerator, though you might additionally have heard that farm-fresh eggs have the right to be stored appropriate on her countertop instead.

It’s true the eggs can be save on computer safely ~ above the countertop because that a short period — as lengthy as lock unwashed and kept at a secure room temperature.

Once an egg has been washed, it’s an ext likely to carry bacteria like Salmonella from the outside of the shell to the inside (10, 11, 12, 13).

Thus, just eggs that have actually not to be washed have the right to safely be stored on the countertop.

Even then, greater temperatures and temperature fluctuations might make egg spoil and decline in high quality sooner than eggs kept in the refrigerator (3, 7, 13, 14).

2. Keep your eggs refrigerated

The best means to save eggs is in a refrigerator set to about 40°F (4–5°C). Experts don’t recommend freezing egg that space in the shell due to the fact that the materials inside are likely to expand and damage the shell (1).

A couple of lab studies additionally suggest that cooler temperatures and also refrigeration substantially reduce the opportunity of one egg coming to be contaminated v Salmonella (11, 15, 16).

For this reason, agencies like the Centers for disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United says recommend staying away native unrefrigerated eggs completely (4).

If you can, avoid keeping eggs in the door the the fridge and instead place them top top a shelf in the key area that the fridge. The door is often the warmest spot because it’s exposed to the open air many frequently.

While her eggs are in the fridge, don’t place anything heavy on optimal of them that can damage the shells, and keep them far from raw meat to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Scientists continue to explore new ways to save eggs cost-free of Salmonella and also other bacteria, such as coating egg in plant-based biofilms that assist keep bacteria out (17, 18).

However, the best means to save eggs because that safety and also freshness might simply it is in to store them in the refrigerator.

3. Select pasteurized egg if she at higher risk

During processing, pasteurized eggs room heated in enough warm water to death bacteria on the external of the shell without cooking the egg inside. Therefore, they might be less likely come contain Salmonella or other bacteria.

Pasteurized eggs room a good choice for civilization who room at higher risk (7).

Especially if you’re sick, pregnant, a child, or an older adult through a endangered immune system, sticking v pasteurized eggs is a good idea to aid avoid contracting a foodborne illness (6).

Pasteurized egg are also useful in recipes that contact for raw eggs, such together Caesar dressing or hollandaise sauce (4).

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It’s ideal to save eggs on a refrigerator shelf, preferably away from the door, and to save them away from any kind of raw meat.