If you are grocery shopping in the U.S., here is something you would never see when opening up a dozen of store-bought eggs:
I distinctly remember my first time grocery shopping in Germany. I spent quite a while looking for the eggs in the refrigerated section before a friend pointed out that they found them near the bread. As if that was not strange enough for my American brain to process (I mean, who doesn’t refrigerate their eggs?!), I opened the case to check for broken ones and found that they were all covered in feathers, dirt, and god-only-knows-what-else.
Over the past three years, I have learned to enjoy seeing the poop and feather-covered eggs. The German boyfriend says that it is a sign that the eggs are really eggs. They are created by hens, get laid onto a dirty ground, and we all enjoy eating them for breakfast. So it goes.
However, I never really thought about the reason for this until I recently found an article about why American eggs would be illegal in a British supermarket and vice versa. You see, it is law in the U.S. that all eggs must be washed with warm water and a non-scented detergent. The issue with this, however, is that any moisture on the egg serves as a vehicle for pathogens to travel through the porous shell. Therefore, American egg-washers (is that a job?) must also make sure the eggs are thoroughly dried before shipping them off to the grocery store.
Since washing eggs is a delicate process, one can already start to see why it is illegal throughout the European Union to wash eggs before selling them. To top it off, the egg has a natural coating on it that protects it from contamination. Wash the egg, and you remove this coating. Therefore, European farmers are simply encouraged to keep the hen’s area clean to ensure that eggs do not become completely poop-covered.
What do you think? Do you like the idea of having clean eggs? Or do you prefer seeing your eggs au naturel?