Wondering whether or not it’s safe to eat expired eggs? The answer depends on a number of factors, including where and how the eggs were stored. As with most food products, the “sell-by” dates and expiration dates are just guidelines, not hard and fast rules. Raw honey, uncooked rice, dried beans, canned foods, and peanut butter are safe to eat for years after their expiration dates, reports Insider.
Fresh eggs don’t last that long, but you can still eat them within three to five weeks of purchasing them, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Just make sure you store them in their carton in the coldest part of the fridge at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below (per the USDA). “If you left your carton of eggs out on the counter for an extended period of time, the eggs would actually go bad before the date,” says food safety and sanitation expert Kevin Murphy (via Insider).
All in all, expired eggs are unlikely to cause food poisoning or indigestion. Rotten eggs, on the other hand, carry serious health risks. However, it’s relatively easy to tell if an egg has gone bad, as you’ll notice a strong sulfur smell coming from it. When in doubt, you can perform the float test to determine its freshness.
If you eat bad eggs, you could get food poisoning
Eggs, regardless of their freshness, can be contaminated with Salmonella, warns the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Salmonella is a group of bacteria responsible for food poisoning. When ingested, it may cause vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, fever, and other symptoms. Most people experience these side effects 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. In some cases, the symptoms may develop weeks following exposure to the bacteria, warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Depending on the severity of the infection, you may feel sick for about four to seven days. The FDA recommends seeing a doctor if you have severe diarrhea, which may indicate that the infection has spread throughout your body. Some individuals may experience changes in their bowel habits for months after recovery. Also, it’s possible to develop reactive arthritis, a disease characterized by joint pain and inflammation, due to a Salmonella infection (via the CDC).
Expired eggs are more likely to contain Salmonella and E. coli, notes Eat by Date. That’s why it’s important to know how to safely handle, store, and cook fresh eggs. The FDA recommends buying them only if sold from a refrigerator. Store them in their carton and serve them immediately after cooking. Note that hard-boiled eggs only last up to a week if refrigerated. Leftover cooked eggs, on the other hand, should be consumed within three to four days.
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