How to tell if your eggs have gone off

Brits lose roughly £139m each year by throwing eggs away

Olivia Petter
Tuesday 09 April 2019 12:27 BST
Too Good To Go show how to check if your eggs are fresh

When it comes to telling if an item of food is fresh or not, it's easier said than done with eggs, whose shell exteriors rarely vary from the norm whether they're fresh or not.

Sometimes you don’t know if an egg is safe to eat until you’ve cracked it, or you might be inclined to throw away a whole box if you notice it’s a few days past its best before date.

Either way, it turns out that many of us are choosing to be pessimistic about the freshness of our eggs, as new research claims Brits throw away more than 720m eggs each year.

A study conducted by food waste app Too Good To Go published on Tuesday revealed that 29 per cent of UK households disposed of the eggs because they’d passed their best before date, despite still being considered safe to eat beyond that.

The research also found that throwing away so many eggs is costing Brits roughly £139m each year.

EU legislation requires the maximum “best before” date for eggs be 28 days from the date they were laid.

But in 2011, food safety watchdogs said consumers needn’t throw their eggs away immediately after this date has passed, as some eggs may still be fresh two days later.

Jamie Crummie, co-founder at Too Good To Go says: “If you’ve been throwing your eggs in the bin based on the dates on the box, you’ve probably been wasting perfectly good food.

“Food waste is a huge problem – a third of all food produced globally is wasted. Small changes from each of us can make a big difference.”

The study found found that less than a quarter of Brits (23 per cent) knew about the popular water test used to check whether or not eggs are still fresh and safe to eat.

Here’s how to conduct the water test and find out if your eggs are in fact fresh enough to eat.

  1. Gently drop your egg into a bowl of cold water
  2. If it’s very fresh, it will sink to the bottom and lie on its side
  3. If the egg is fresh but is nearing expiration, it will sink to the bottom of the bowl and sit upright
  4. If the egg is not fresh, it will simply float

The British Egg Information Service (BEIS) explains why this is a reliable test for egg freshness on its website: “As the egg gets older, the size of the air sac increases, making it float.”

But to minimise any food safety risks, the BEIS suggests looking for the Lion mark on eggs – to indicate it has been produced under the British Lion scheme, which is responsible for 90 per cent of UK eggs – and using them before the best-before date.

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