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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Why German Eggs Would Be Illegal to Sell in the U.S.

If you are grocery shopping in the U.S., here is something you would never see when opening up a dozen of store-bought eggs:

Eggs in Germany

I distinctly remember my first time grocery shopping in Germany. I spent quite a while looking for the eggs in the refrigerated section before a friend pointed out that they found them near the bread. As if that was not strange enough for my American brain to process (I mean, who doesn't refrigerate their eggs?!), I opened the case to check for broken ones and found that they were all covered in feathers, dirt, and god-only-knows-what-else.

Over the past three years, I have learned to enjoy seeing the poop and feather-covered eggs. The German boyfriend says that it is a sign that the eggs are really eggs. They are created by hens, get laid onto a dirty ground, and we all enjoy eating them for breakfast. So it goes.

Eggs in Germany

However, I never really thought about the reason for this until I recently found an article about why American eggs would be illegal in a British supermarket and vice versa. You see, it is law in the U.S. that all eggs must be washed with warm water and a non-scented detergent. The issue with this, however, is that any moisture on the egg serves as a vehicle for pathogens to travel through the porous shell. Therefore, American egg-washers (is that a job?) must also make sure the eggs are thoroughly dried before shipping them off to the grocery store.

Since washing eggs is a delicate process, one can already start to see why it is illegal throughout the European Union to wash eggs before selling them. To top it off, the egg has a natural coating on it that protects it from contamination. Wash the egg, and you remove this coating. Therefore, European farmers are simply encouraged to keep the hen's area clean to ensure that eggs do not become completely poop-covered.

What do you think? Do you like the idea of having clean eggs? Or do you prefer seeing your eggs au naturel?

15 comments:

  1. This is also one of the reasons why you don't necessarily have to refrigerate German eggs, but you have to in the US because of this process. I was shocked the first time I found eggs not sitting in the fridge in Germany, and they were still being consumed. Great blog post!

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    1. Oh, interesting. I didn't know that. It is nice that they put a date on the egg carton too just to let you know when you should put them in the fridge to make them last longer.

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  2. I don't like eating eggs, but the difficult part about eggs being different outside the U.S. is the color makes for uglier dyed Easter eggs!

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    1. I find it funny that during Easter, they will specifically sell cartons with only white eggs and market them as "Eggs for Dying!" while, of course, jacking the price way up. Otherwise, it seems like the chances are about 50/50 of the eggs being white or brown on any given day (at least here in Northern Germany).

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  3. I find it funny that during Easter, they will specifically sell cartons with only white eggs and market them as "Eggs for Dying!" while, of course, jacking the price way up. Otherwise, it seems like the chances are about 50/50 of the eggs being white or brown on any given day (at least here in Northern Germany).

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  4. Oh, interesting. I didn't know that. It is nice that they put a date on the egg carton too just to let you know when you should put them in the fridge to make them last longer.

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  5. The first time I went into an English supermarket and saw eggs unrefrigerated I was shocked. Now I think it's normal and am not fussed about things like feathers which would have previously terrified me! x

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  6. You have definitely had to change your mind about a few things. This one makes sense.

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  7. Yeah, I knew about the eggs. But then again, we're in the restaurant business. We keep our eggs refrigerated, by the way. My favorite difference between foods here and there is that German potato sellers add dirt to make potatoes look more natural. Since potatoes are sold by weight, it means you pay extra for dirt.

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  8. Oh, that is interesting about the potatoes, albeit not too surprising. The Germans are suckers for things like "look natural." That is the reason my boyfriend says he likes the dirty eggs.

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  9. This was something I noticed when I lived in Germany. A nice little culture shock. My vote is for healthy eggs. Natural or cleaned up, I am good as long as I don't get sick :)

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  10. Ohh, that's a good idea! When I was in Spain, I was able to find white eggs at some stores, but I couldn't find them anywhere in Australia this year! But, hey, since Easter is in the autumn here, the color scheme worked out :)

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  11. Haha, that's funny! Brown is definitely not what most would consider an Easter color, though...

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  12. That article is really interesting. I can't get over the fact that egs in the US used to be kept in storage for up to a year after laying though :-o

    I refrigerate my eggs after I get them home, by the way. There's even a little egg holder inside my (German) fridge.

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  13. Same thing in Poland! I love knowing my eggs are fresh and from a Polish farm! :-)

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