The incredible, edible egg

Just your typical egg aisle at the supermarket. Photo credit: Richard Appleyard

I live by the two-hour rule. Refrigerated food can live outside its natural habitat for two hours max. TWO HOURS MAX. It’s a guiding principle in my life.

And so you can imagine my horror the first time I wandered into a Tesco Supermarket and stumbled upon the egg aisle. The unrefrigerated egg aisle with stacks and stacks of egg cartons sitting quite happily in a non-chilled state. Gah.

Apparently, Brits aren’t bothered by this. They buy their eggs,  bring them home and put them in the fridge. Why the rush? Why not leave them on the counter for a few days? This I’ve never understood. When asked, I’ve usually gotten the ho-hum, nonchalant response: “Well, eggs need to be refrigerated.” If there is an urgency to put them in a fridge when you’re home, why not the urgency at the supermarket? Not quite sure.

Does anyone know why this is? Or can anyone hasten a guess? It might just be one of those chicken-or-the-egg mysteries …


Posted on 2, August 2011, in Food and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. What amazed me the last time I was in a UK supermarket was the incredible variety of eggs. We just don’t have all the different types over here in the US, or at least not that I see. My egg buying, however, is becoming a little neurotic. I recently spent a good 10 minutes with two store associates obsessing about whether a certain type of egg truly was pasture raised.

  2. I remember discussing this once…. i think once refrigerated it must remain refrigerated……. until that point it doesn’t matter and eggs are good out of the fridge for a couple of weeks but may last a bit longer in the fridge. My friend breeds chickens. I’ll discuss with them!

  3. ohhh! I forgot – with milk, an hour out of the fridge is a day off the shelf life…….

  4. They don’t really need to be refridgerated but they do need to be kept cool… and the idea that the supermarkets keep them all day in a warm place just boggles my mind. Thankfully we rarely get them from a supermarket anymore, instead we get ’em from an ‘egg hut’ near a local farm where the eggs come from free-range chickens. So – they’re very fresh and don’t stay long in the hut. At least… I hope they don’t! 🙂

  5. They don’t need to be refrigerated because British eggs unlike American eggs aren’t washed. Eggs have a natural anti-bacterial layer and washing the egg strips off the layer and makes the egg vulnerable so they need to be refrigerated. In Britain, the onus is put on the famer to keep his facility spotlessly clean so the eggs don’t need to be washed so that protective layer remains intact and so the eggs don’t need to go in to the fridge

    Many of us don’t put our eggs in the fridge when we get home either – mine go in a cupboard

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