multiply most rapidly at warm room temperatures. If
the bacterial load becomes sufficiently large,either
on or inside the shell, it can cause illness. The chance
of that happening is greatly reduced when eggs are stored
at refrigerator temperatures.
Refrigerating eggs is not only a matter of safety, however.
It's also the best way to keep eggs fresh. It's estimated
that eggs age more in one day at room temperature than
they do in one week in the refrigerator. And as eggs
age, some of their cooking qualities are affected. The
yolks and whites become thinner and more prone to breaking
when you separate them. You'll also find these eggs
harder to poach, as thin whites spread quickly throughout
the poaching water instead of clustering around the
yolk. And you may notice a large dent in the fat end
of hard-cooked eggs. This happens as moisture and carbon
dioxide evaporate from the white, allowing air to enter
through the porous shell and enlarge the air space.
Granted, in parts of the world, people do eat unrefrigerated
eggs without getting sick. Many variables account for
this. In some countries for instance, people shop frequentlyeven
dailyrather than storing food at home. So the
eggs they buy are freshly laid and quickly consumed.
Where eggs spend prolonged periods at warm temperatures
we suspect the instance of illness from Salmonella
is higher than in locales where eggs are kept continuously
refrigerated. Note too that the symptoms - diarrhea,
abdominal pain, nausea and fever closely resemble "the
flu". We seldom stop to consider that what we sometimes
label as flu might really be a food borne illness. In
communities where people are fortunate enough to know
about food safety and have the opportunity to keep eggs
cool, it makes good sense to do so.
Anne & Sue