Health for humans, animals & plants

Eggs

General

A size M (-medium) chicken egg weighs between 53 and 63 grams. Assuming an average weight of 58 g, the egg of this grade has about 90 kilocalories (kcal) or 375 kiloJoules (kJ). In addition to eggs of size M, there are also eggs of weight class XL- Very large with a weight of 73 g and more, eggs of weight class L - Large with a weight between 63 g to less than 73 g and eggs of weight class S- Small with a weight less than 53.

At Easter, colored eggs are in high season. Colored, boiled Easter eggs/eggs now available in stores year-round may only be colored with approved food dyes. Only a small specially selected number of dyes (in the natural form only) may be used to color organic eggs.

In addition to the colorants, special coating agents may be used.

Both colored, cooked eggs and raw eggs must be labeled when sold in stores. Different labeling requirements apply in some cases. For colored, cooked eggs, a list of ingredients is also required. More detailed information can be found under technical information.

However, eggs can also be carriers of pathogens such assalmonella.

Nutrition recommendations

Eggs are characterized by a high protein content. This egg protein has a high biological value. This means that the protein contained in the hen's egg can be converted very well to form the body's own protein. Furthermore, eggs are suppliers of vitamins (e.g. vitamin A, vitamin D, folic acid and biotin) as well as minerals and trace elements such as selenium.

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is a component of our cell membranes. Cholesterol is only present in the yolk of a hen's egg. However, eggs need not be avoided in the diet because of their cholesterol content. If the recommendations of the Austrian food pyramid of a maximum of 3 eggs per week are adhered to, a healthy person can assume that the consumption of eggs has no negative health effects. We support you with our online tool "Food under the magnifying glass" to make an optimal choice of food.

Situation in Austria

Eggs and egg products are regularly inspected as part of the official food control. In 2020, 14 (3.1%) of 453 samples inspected were rejected(Food Safety Report 2020). The majority of the complaints were due to labeling deficiencies and/or misleading information. No sample was harmful to health.

Tips

Egg shelf life

The shelf life of eggs is strongly dependent on the way they are stored. It depends not only on the cooling, but especially on a constant storage temperature. In the household there are constant storage temperatures mostly only in the refrigerator. Therefore, it is recommended to store eggs there and always in the same place (temperature zone), but not in the door because of the temperature fluctuations there.

Fresh eggs are sold with a maximum shelf life of 28 days from the date of laying. They may be sold up to a maximum of 21 days from the date of laying.

Properly stored raw eggs that have an undamaged shell and look and smell inconspicuous may possibly be used even after the expiration of the minimum shelf life. However, from the 22nd day onwards (i.e. from the 6th day before the best-before date printed on the packaging is reached), they should only be used in well-heated dishes.

You can tell how fresh a raw egg is by placing it in cold water. If the egg sinks and remains flat on the bottom, then the egg is fresh. Slightly older eggs float in the water and should be processed as soon as possible. If the egg floats to the top or if the blunt tip sticks out of the water, the egg is no longer suitable for consumption.

For more information on shelf life, click here.

Beware of germs

Eggs can be carriers of pathogens such assalmonella. These germs are either inside the egg (at the boundary between egg white and yolk) but mainly on the shell outside. During household processing (breaking the eggs), it is impossible to prevent the egg contents from coming into contact with the shell and thus with any germs that may be present on it.

Sensitive persons such as children, pregnant women, sick and elderly people should therefore generally avoid all dishes containing eggs that have not been heated through completely.

Good kitchen hygiene should always be observed when handling raw eggs. This will prevent transmission of pathogens to other foods that are consumed raw. Eggs should never be washed, however, as the natural protective function of the shell is lost and germs can thus penetrate the egg unhindered.

Is there a risk of salmonella infection when blowing out raw eggs?

The risk of contracting a salmonella infection by blowing out raw eggs cannot be proven.

We have clarified thousands ofSalmonella infections in humans in the past years. In not a single case was an infection in humans via blowing out raw eggs the cause of the illness.

For an infection to occur, a person would have to ingest a high amount of bacteria (at least 10,000 germs) via food. Even if a chicken egg contained salmonella on the shell or in the egg, this amount of bacteria could not be ingested by a person just by blowing out eggs.

Another argument against a risk is that poultry breeding flocks (laying hens, broilers, turkeys and parent stock) in the EU are nowadays practically free of Salmonella pathogens. As a result, the number of salmonella cases in humans in Austria has fallen by more than 80 percent since 2002, and raw eggs now only pose a salmonella risk in exceptional cases.

Shelf life and spoilage of Easter eggs

Easter eggs have a longer shelf life than raw eggs. The longer shelf life has to do with the heating through and the treatment of the shell. For example, the shells of the eggs are coated with oil (household), carnauba wax or shellac (industrial), this seals the porous shell.

Shelf life depends on the condition of the raw egg before cooking. The better the quality, the longer the shelf life. Purchased colored eggs must have a best before date on the package, but may still be edible after the best before date. However, they should be checked for abnormalities by sensory inspection (sight, smell, taste) before consumption.

For shelf life, it is important to make sure that the shell is undamaged and that the eggs are stored at home at a constant temperature.

Boiled colored eggs can be stored unrefrigerated. However, once the eggs have been stored in the refrigerator, they should always remain stored there until used. Condensation from the room air seeps onto cold eggs, which can seep through the pores of the eggshell and carry germs inside the egg.

Incidentally, a blue-green discoloration at the albumen-yolk boundary of a cooked egg is not a sign that the egg is already old: it only indicates that the egg has been cooked for too long, and this happens relatively quickly when dyeing already hard-boiled eggs in hot dyeing solutions. The iron from the yolk reacts with the sulfur from the egg white during cooking to form green iron sulfide. This discoloration at the boundary of yolk and egg white is harmless, the egg can be eaten with a clear conscience.

Dyeing eggs with food

If you want to dye your Easter eggs completely without additives, you can try coloring foods for this purpose. Suitable are, for example: beet, spinach, parsley, turmeric, onion peelings, etc. The resulting effects are usually not as intense as egg shells colored with food coloring.

 

Specialized information

Egg marking

In the case of commercially available eggs, each has the so-called single egg marking on the shell.

  • BB 01.01.2017
  • 0-AT-1234567

The egg bears the date of minimum durability and a code indicating

  • The country of origin (e.g. AT for Austria),
  • the farming method of the hens (0=organic, 1=free-range, 2=bottom-raised, 3=cage-raised)
  • and the manufacturer. The producer code can be queried on the Internet for Austrian farms in the Austrian egg database and thus find out the name and address of the producer.

On the packaging (egg carton) there is still further information such as the explanation of the single egg marking, the weight class, the number of pieces and voluntary information on feeding etc.

Easter eggs/cooked eggs marking

Easter eggs/boiled eggs are egg products, as cooking is legally considered a processing step. If they are offered in stores as packaged food, they must be labeled with the following labeling elements according to the requirements of the Food Information Regulation(Regulation EU No. 1169/2011) concerning the provision of food information to consumers):

  • Commercial name: e.g. "Boiled and colored (Easter) eggs".
  • Name (company or company keyword) and address of the producing or packaging company/farm
  • Number of pieces/quantity
  • Best before date
  • List of ingredients with details of the colorants and coating agents used

Information on how the hens are kept and the producer's farm is only mandatory for raw eggs in the individual egg label, but is no longer mandatory on Easter eggs. However, they may be included by producers as voluntary information in the labeling.

Legal basis for food colors

Commercially available Easter eggs may only be colored with approved food colors(Regulation EC No. 1333/2008, Annex II Part B 1). If the color has reached the inside of the egg, the Easter egg can still be eaten without concern.

For organic eggs, colors are used that are primarily derived from products found in nature for red shades these are, for example: Cochineal (carminic acid E 120 - from the scarlet scale insect Coccus Cacti) or Betanin (E 162 Beet red - from red beet).

Last updated: 21.01.2022

automatically translated

Jump to top
X

We are using cookies.

We are using cookies on this web page. Some of them are required to run this page, some are useful to provide you the best web experience.