How Natural Eggs Are Washed

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The stunning record of chemical substances allowed for USDA natural egg washing in the US, which leaves the potential for chemical 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 individuals to take their meals sourcing regionally.

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

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

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

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

You see, if you take a high quality product from a small farm and cross it by way of 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 typical eggs as they know in regards to the poisonous chlorine washes which are customary follow, because it seems, egg (and carcass) washes for USDA natural manufacturers truly 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 Pointers, the next chemical substances 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 substances (H2O2 and sodium carbonate) are secure, the others are most undoubtedly 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 substances are in some way allowed in “natural” egg manufacturing is past me.

Why doesn’t the USDA solely enable secure substances reminiscent of hydrogen peroxide and sodium carbonate? Why the opposite poisonous trio as nicely?

Poisonous Vegetable Oil Coating after Washing

One other widespread follow 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 Pointers permits for this poisonous follow as nicely. (1)

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

My guess could be the most cost effective oils potential … natural canola or refined sunflower oil anybody?

How you can Discover Secure, Unwashed Eggs

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

For my part, the very best 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 neatest thing is to acquire recent, unwashed eggs from a neighbor or farmer’s market. Keep away from natural eggs from the shop as a lot as potential.

For those who suppose unwashed eggs are harmful, they aren’t!

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 elements of the world, unwashed (and unrefrigerated) eggs may 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.

Fully unrefrigerated, unwashed recent eggs out within the open air subsequent to greens and fruit!

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

unwashed unrefrigerated eggs on Venice street market

Greatest Natural Egg Manufacturers

If you end up in a meals desert the place recent, unwashed eggs are usually not out there and holding just a few hens your self isn’t an possibility, then you have to 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 record of standards about dozens of natural egg manufacturers, sadly, the egg-washing course of isn’t amongst them!

Thus, I might recommend utilizing this scorecard to winnow down the record of egg manufacturers which are greatest and out there in your space.

Then, contact every farm instantly (by cellphone is greatest in my expertise), to acquire info on the chemical substances used to scrub 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 situation, if you happen to should not have a “greatest” natural model out there in your space that makes use of unhazardous hydrogen peroxide or sodium carbonate as an egg wash, then not less than you’ll want to re-wash the eggs your self completely in heat, soapy water earlier than utilizing.

Whereas this isn’t a failsafe technique given the porous nature of egg shells, it could not less than cut back the possibility that chemical or rancid vegetable oil residues get into the eggs if you crack them.


(1) USDA Poultry Pointers

(2) Sodium hypochlorite

(3) Potassium hydroxide

(4) Peracetic acid

(5) Egg Scorecard Standards, Cornucopia Institute

(6) Greatest Natural Egg Manufacturers