Food Safety & Quality

Linda
Linda

I brought free-run brown eggs last week and fried some this morning, and they tasted fishy!  What is with the fishy taste?

Any eggs that come from hens that were fed a diet high in flaxseed could smell ‘fishy’, as a result of the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid that flaxseed naturally contains.  Increasing the flaxseed component in hen feed is one of the most common ways for hens to produce Omega-3 eggs; the ‘fishy’ smell actually comes from the omega-3 fatty acid, even in fish.

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Corina
Corina

I enjoy eating raw egg yolks, particularly when served over steamed rice.  Are Albertan eggs safe to eat this way?

When preparing raw or lightly cooked eggs, you must use proper food handling methods.  Grade-A eggs must have clean, uncracked shells.  Wash you hands in hot, soapy water before and after handling the eggs.  Eat the dish immediately after preparation or immediately refrigerate the product until served, keep it cold during serving and consume it the same day it is prepared.  Discard any leftovers.

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Judith
Judith

Could you send me a list of ingredients for the substance used to sanitize/wash eggs?  Due to an allergy, I’m curious if there is corn in the substance?  Also, is the egg’s exterior natural coating removed during the washing/sanitizing process?

All chemicals used to clean eggs at the grading station are food-grade chemicals that are approved by both federal and provincial regulations, which are verified to not contain any priority allergens (corn is not a priority allergen in Canada, so CFIA would not be specifically looking for it).  Also, the egg’s natural coating is removed during the cleaning process.  You should always follow recommendations for storage and handling of eggs.

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Sandy
Sandy

What are those little specks (sometimes red, sometimes brown) inside an egg, usually in the egg white? Are they safe to eat?

During the formation of an egg, a blood vessel can occasionally rupture in the hen, causing a blood spot to form. Blood spots typically occur in less than 1% of all eggs laid. Eggs with blood spots are usually removed during grading, but occasionally a very small spot is missed. Although an egg with a blood spot is not harmful to eat, the spot can easily be removed with the tip of a knife before cooking.

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Susan
Susan

How can you tell if your eggs are fresh, and can you consume eggs that have passed their expiry date?

If stored in their original carton in the middle of your fridge, eggs should be good for about a week beyond the expiry date.  However, one way to test for freshness is to drop an egg into a glass of water – if it sinks it is fresh, if it floats it isn’t!

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Lorna
Lorna

What is the average percentage of double-yolk eggs in a flock?

Though not uncommon, especially with very young or very old birds, double-yolk eggs still only account for less than 1% of our daily egg collection.

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R
R

How long does it take eggs to get to market?

Most eggs are available in grocery stores about a week after they were laid, meaning you always have access to fresh, high quality, locally produced eggs!

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Lori
Lori

I like the idea of washing eggs in water with a bit of dishwashing liquid and drying them with paper towels, just before using them in cooking.  Is this OK, or is it wrong?

All eggs sold at retail are washed and sanitized at grading stations that have been certified by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).  Eggs also have a protective layer that your washing could remove.  Since you’ll likely be cracking the eggs or boiling them in the shell, washing them seems unnecessary, but it’s certainly not wrong to do so.  Click here to find out more about grading stations.

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Jen
Jen

As I understand it, eggs are unfertilised and not a chick that was stopped from making it to “full term”, right?

Just like humans, both a rooster and hen are required to create a baby chick.  That’s why egg farmers only raise hens (female chickens), to eliminate the risk of fertilization.

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Michelle
Michelle

Do you still put arsenic in your feed, even after knowing the pervasive cancer causing properties?

Alberta egg farmers work with nutrition specialists to make sure their hens receive a balanced diet, which is vital for maintaining the hens’ health.  All Canadian egg farmers follow feed regulations set by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), which have never included arsenic.

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Jane
Jane

I have noticed that some eggs yolks are light yellow and others are dark orange.  Are certain eggs healthier or fresher than others?

The yolk color does not affect the flavor, quality or nutritional value of the eggs.  Yolk color is entirely dependent on the type of feed the hens eat; wheat-based feed tends to produce lighter yolks and corn-based feed tends to produce darker yolks.

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