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How Natural Eggs Are Washed

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The surprising listing of chemical compounds allowed in USDA natural egg washing and processing, which leaves the potential for poisonous residues given the porous nature of egg shells.

brands of organic washed eggs in healthfood store refrigerator

One of many targets of this weblog for the previous 15 years is to encourage folks to take their meals sourcing regionally.

In different phrases, redirect as a lot of the meals funds as doable to native producers or artisans.

What this implies, in observe, is the elimination of the “meals intermediary” that’s the Industrialized Meals System.

The Industrialized Meals System is the place practically all the unhealthy issues occur to your meals.

This consists of nourishing, complete meals like natural eggs. Even pastured and free-range varieties from small farms can fall sufferer to its regulatory risks.

You see, once you take a top quality product from a small farm and go it by the Industrialized Meals System, poisonous practices and meals adulteration normally happen.

It’s not the identical product when it emerges from the Industrialized Meals System as when it first entered!

Let’s check out how natural eggs are washed as a simple instance.

USDA Natural Egg Wash Requirements

Whereas many individuals keep away from standard eggs as they know concerning the poisonous chlorine washes which are normal observe, because it seems, egg (and carcass) washes for USDA natural manufacturers really aren’t significantly better!

Egg shells are extremely porous and any chemical used to wash the shell and coat it afterward can find yourself within the egg itself.

In accordance with Part 205.605 of USDA Poultry Tips, the next chemical compounds are authorized to be used as natural egg washes. (1)

  • Sodium hypochlorite
  • Potassium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide
  • Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)
  • Sodium carbonate (washing soda)
  • Peracetic acid (Peroxyacetic acid)

Whereas two of those chemical compounds (H2O2 and sodium carbonate) are secure, the others are most positively not!

For instance, sodium hypochlorite is corrosive and an environmental hazard. (2)

Potassium hydroxide is corrosive and an irritant. (3)

Peracetic acid is flammable and corrosive in addition to an irritant and environmental hazard. (4)

How these chemical compounds are in some way allowed in “natural” egg manufacturing is past me.

Why doesn’t the USDA solely enable secure substances comparable to hydrogen peroxide and sodium carbonate? Why the opposite poisonous trio as effectively?

Poisonous Vegetable Oil Coating after Washing

One other frequent observe is for natural eggs to be coated with vegetable oil after washing.

This “seals” the porous egg shells “for security”.

Part 205.605 of USDA Poultry Tips permits for this poisonous observe as effectively. (1)

What oils are used? Your guess is nearly as good as mine, nevertheless it doesn’t have to be listed as a result of it’s an “trade normal”. 🙄

My guess is that the most affordable seed oils are used comparable to refined canola or sunflower oil.

The best way to Discover Secure, Unwashed Eggs

The unhappy reality is that it’s crucial for customers to teach themselves and take evasive motion with regards to sourcing eggs. They can not depend on the USDA or natural requirements to guard them.

For my part, the most effective answer is to maintain yard chickens your self. Our household has stored a small flock for over 10 years now, and I extremely suggest it!

The subsequent smartest thing is to acquire contemporary, unwashed eggs from a neighbor or farmer’s market. Keep away from natural eggs from the shop as a lot as doable.

When you suppose unwashed eggs are harmful, they don’t seem to be!

The “bloom” or pure coating on an egg is very protecting, even permitting for the eggs to stay unrefrigerated for a lot of days.

In Europe and different components of the world, unwashed (and unrefrigerated) eggs might be discovered at shops and even out on the street!

The image under is a photograph I took myself of unwashed eggs sitting out unrefrigerated in a healthfood retailer within the Netherlands in 2018.

unwashed eggs in cartons on healthfood store shelf

The subsequent image under is a photograph I took on the streets of Venice, Italy in 2015.

Utterly unrefrigerated, unwashed contemporary eggs out within the open air subsequent to greens and fruit!

The scare ways of the USDA in opposition to unwashed eggs are utterly unwarranted!

unwashed unrefrigerated eggs on Venice street market

Finest Natural Egg Manufacturers

If you end up in a meals desert the place contemporary, unwashed eggs should not out there and retaining a number of hens your self shouldn’t be an choice, then you will want to do some investigation of the out there egg manufacturers in your space.

The perfect natural egg model rating system I’ve seen is from the Cornucopia Institute. (5, 6)

Whereas this in-depth egg scorecard investigates an exhaustive listing of standards about dozens of natural egg manufacturers, sadly, the egg-washing course of shouldn’t be amongst them!

Thus, I’d counsel utilizing this scorecard to winnow down the listing of egg manufacturers which are finest and out there in your space.

Then, contact every farm instantly (by telephone is finest in my expertise), to acquire info on the chemical compounds used to clean the eggs and the vegetable oil used to coat them earlier than they’re positioned in cartons and shipped to your retailer shelf.

In a worst-case state of affairs, should you should not have a “finest” natural model out there in your space that makes use of unhazardous hydrogen peroxide or sodium carbonate as an egg wash, then a minimum of make sure you re-wash the eggs your self totally in heat, soapy water earlier than utilizing.

Whereas this isn’t a failsafe methodology given the porous nature of egg shells, it might a minimum of scale back the possibility that chemical or rancid vegetable oil residues get into the eggs once you crack them.


(1) USDA Poultry Tips

(2) Sodium hypochlorite

(3) Potassium hydroxide

(4) Peracetic acid

(5) Egg Scorecard Standards, Cornucopia Institute

(6) Finest Natural Egg Manufacturers



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