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 objectives 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 price range 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, if you take a high quality product from a small farm and go it by way of the Industrialized Meals System, poisonous practices and meals adulteration often 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 commonplace observe, because it seems, egg (and carcass) washes for USDA natural manufacturers really aren’t a lot better!

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

In keeping with Part 205.605 of USDA Poultry Pointers, the next chemical compounds are permitted 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 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 compounds are by some means allowed in “natural” egg manufacturing is past me.

Why doesn’t the USDA solely enable secure substances resembling 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 Pointers permits for this poisonous observe as effectively. (1)

What oils are used? Your guess is pretty much as good as mine, but it surely doesn’t should be listed as a result of it’s an “trade commonplace”. ????

My guess is that the most cost effective seed oils are used resembling refined canola or sunflower oil.

The way to Discover Protected, Unwashed Eggs

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

For my part, the very best resolution is to maintain yard chickens your self. Our household has saved a small flock for over 10 years now, and I extremely suggest it!

The subsequent neatest 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.

If you happen to 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 components of the world, unwashed (and unrefrigerated) eggs might be discovered at shops and even out on the street!

The image beneath 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 beneath 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 fully unwarranted!

unwashed unrefrigerated eggs on Venice street market

Greatest Natural Egg Manufacturers

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

The most effective 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 will not be amongst them!

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

Then, contact every farm instantly (by cellphone is finest in my expertise), to acquire data on the chemical compounds 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, for those who do not need a “finest” natural model obtainable in your space that makes use of unhazardous hydrogen peroxide or sodium carbonate as an egg wash, then at the least remember to re-wash the eggs your self totally in heat, soapy water earlier than utilizing.

Whereas this isn’t a failsafe technique given the porous nature of egg shells, it will at the least scale 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