Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fresh Eggs: From Farm to Table

I'm often asked, How long can I keep eggs in the refrigerator before they should be tossed?

Here's the official USDA guidelines for packaging eggs (click the link for additional USDA Egg Facts including a very helpful Egg Storage Chart).

Dating of Cartons
Egg processors typically print dates commonly called "Code Dates" on cartons for purposes of rotating stock or controlling inventory. "EXP," "Sell By," and "Best if Used Before" are examples of terminology used for code dating. Use of code dates on USDA graded eggs is optional; however, if they are used, certain rules must be followed.

If an expiration date is used, it must be printed in month/day format and preceded by the appropriate prefix. "EXP," "Sell By," and "Not to be sold after the date at the end of the carton" are examples of expiration dates. Expiration dates can be no more than 30 days from the day the eggs were packed into the carton.

Another type of code dating used indicates the recommended maximum length of time that the consumer can expect eggs to maintain their quality when stored under ideal conditions. Terminology such as "Use by", "Use before", "Best before" indicates a period that the eggs should be consumed before overall quality diminishes. Code dating using these terms may not exceed 45 days including the day the eggs were packed into the carton.

So, long story short, the eggs you buy at the grocery can be kept until they are 30-45 days passed the date they were packed into the carton. Farm fresh eggs that you purchase from local producers could be kept just as long; however, I recommend eating your Happy Hen eggs within two weeks from the date you pick them up. Keeping them longer would take the fresh out of Farm Fresh and it would just be plain silly (unless of course you plan to hard-boil them...then, the older the better if you'd like to be able to peel them)!

When you pick up eggs from us, the eggs will have been packed within 1-4 days of you scooping them up. We collect our eggs 2x/day and package them the same day. We also write the date the eggs were laid/packed on the carton.


  1. Thank you for the valuable information on the time of the eggs and being able to get a great peeled egg.

  2. Im looking into my own laying hens do I need a rooster ...can up tell me please