Why Do Americans Refrigerate Eggs?

Americans refrigerate eggs because of US federal food safety regulations that require chicken eggs to be washed prior to sale. The process of washing eggs actually exposes them to bacteria because it destroys the outermost protective coating of the shell that keeps bacteria and other microorganisms from penetrating it. Refrigerating the eggs after washing helps prevent microorganisms from reaching within the porous shell. Egg refrigeration is not common in other countries, with the exception of Japan and Scandinavia, because of differing food safety standards that do not require washing beforehand. Instead, hens are required to be vaccinated against illnesses prior to laying eggs.

More about eggs:

  • The US produces around 75 billion eggs each year, accounting for 10% of the total world egg supply.
  • A hen lays an average of 250 eggs annually and most eggs are laid between 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. due to computer-controlled lighting in henhouses that stimulates egg production.
  • The shell comprises approximately 9 to 12% of the weight of an average egg, and each shell contains up to 17,000 tiny holes.

Discussion Comments


Euroxati, look up information on birds and bird eggs. If the egg has been fertilized, then the embryo is within the egg. The yolk supplies nutrition to the developing chick. The mother hen sits on the eggs to keep them warm, turning them as needed. After the chick has fully developed, it pecks and cracks the egg open. Voila! The chick is born.

This does not happen in "egg factories" for several reasons, primarily because the focus is on egg production. The eggs are not fertilized, therefore, no chick.


To be honest, I'm not surprised at all that the U.S. produces so many eggs per year. After all, just look at how many people eat eggs, and how much they're used as additives in food products. In fact, in my opinion, eggs are one of the most versatile products known to man.


Even though the article doesn't mention this, I think another reason why Americans refrigerate eggs is due to the fact that you can get poisoning from eating the inside of the egg, and even more so, if it's not refrigerated.

In fact, allow me to explain. While it's not always unsafe to eat an uncooked egg, more than often, doing so can lead to salmonella.

However, just imagine how much more of a chance one would have of getting Salmonella if they were to eat an egg that's not only non refrigerated, but also partially spoiled as well.

While it's possible that many people from other countries might see us as being overly protective when it comes to refrigerating eggs, on the other hand, I see them as being a little to non-cautious.

I don't mean to sound like I'm stereotyping, and obviously, it's not the case for everyone, but still, it's something interesting to think about.

In fact, don't quote me on this, but I've heard that many people in other countries have a tendency to get a lot sicker than most Americans, and the even the Japanese tend to have a rather high rate of parasites. Even though this could obviously be several factors, perhaps one of the reasons for this is due to lack of sanitation.


Even though many Americans are supposed to refrigerate eggs, one thing that I've always wondered about eggs is how they even become yolks in the first place?

After all, when a chicken lays her eggs, aren't the baby chicks already in the egg, or are they sent to a factory and completely unprocessed?

While this doesn't specifically relate to the article, I still think it's rather interesting, and something that should be discussed more often.

On a final note, one thing that I find very interesting about this article is how it mentions the fact that only Americans are the ones who put their eggs in the refrigerator.

While it's obviously true that people from other countries do the same thing as well, I also like how it points out the fact that the rules for this are a lot stricter in America. However, does anyone else wonder why Japan (and some other countries as well) don't even bother to refrigerate their eggs? Obviously, standards and regulations aren't always the same, but a lack of refrigerating certain food can lead to contamination, right?

Post your comments
Forgot password?