What U.S. expat has not been surprised by flats and cartons of eggs sitting out on the supermarket shelf.
They immediately wonder why the eggs are not refrigerated like back home. It turns out that Costa Rica may be doing right by the eggs and the consumer.
“Eggshells have a natural protective coating on them that helps prevents microbes from entering eggs,” says the University of Florida. “For this reason, washing eggs isn’t consistently recommended by all sources.”
In fact, in only a few countries, including the United States and Australia, do producers and distributors wash eggs.
Those expats with laying hens probably also should know that washing eggs has to be done in a special way to prevent dangerous bacteria from seeping into the shells.
Among some of the instructions from the experts is discarding any free range eggs found outside the nesting boxes because there is no certainty when they have been laid. In addition, agricultural sources, including the University of Florida, urge collecting eggs twice a day in hot climates.
Egg safety is a major academic topic because there are cases of salmonella every year. Australia reports nearly 12,000 cases each year, according to one report.
The same Australian source reported that an experiment showed that egg penetration by Salmonella typhimurium was significantly higher in washed eggs when compared to unwashed eggs.
The University of Florida has an extensive tip sheet on the home handling of eggs by those who produce their own. One tip is to wash eggs in water about 20 degrees F warmer than the eggs to prevent it from contracting and pulling bacteria inside.