Yes, you need to store your eggs in the fridge (Here’s why they don’t in Europe)


“Food safety obsessions” – that’s what a well-known so-called food pundit called it when he suggested on Twitter, that in order to save space in your fridge, eggs can be stored at room temperature.

He stated when he lived in Europe for a year, eggs were always on the counter.

It’s really a shame that this misguided agri-food “expert” doesn’t know much about food storage and food processing – both here in North America and in Europe.

It wasn’t just the eggs that he got wrong. But here’s the scoop on eggs and why you should refrigerate them – unless you buy them from a farmer.

Egg washing
Most commercial eggs are washed during processing here in North America. This removes both dirt and bacteria from the eggs. But here’s what also happens during the washing: a protective coating, known as the cuticle, is removed, as well. As a result, the eggs must be refrigerated after processing. So when you purchase eggs, in places like the supermarket, you will find them in the refrigerator section. Once you bring the eggs home, they should immediately be refrigerated.

While they may have been washed, eggs can still be a source of salmonella but with proper food handling, you can significantly reduce your risk.

Signs of Salmonella
Symptoms of a salmonella infection can include diarrhea, stomach cramps and fever. These symptoms can begin within 6 hours and last from 4 to 7 days. But for some, symptoms may not begin for several weeks and in rare cases, infections can also lead to severe illness and death.

Sage advice
So heeding the advice of how to handle eggs safely is definitely a smart idea. And refrigerating them is the advice that you will see from every reliable source on egg safety and storage.

Here’s what Health Canada says:


In the US, the  government (FDA)  advice is also the same. Most Asian countries, except for Japan, do not wash their eggs as we do here in North America. But Japan opted for the practice of washing eggs after a significant outbreak of salmonella.

Here’s what the Egg Farmers of Canada say:
Eggs should not be stored on the refrigerator door, but in the main body of the refrigerator to ensure that they keep a consistent and cool temperature.

Across the Atlantic
Now you may be wondering why, in European grocery stores, egg cartons are not refrigerated. It’s not that Europeans are more chill (sorry I couldn’t resist) about food safety issues (or not obsessed as this food pundit put it). In fact, in Europe and in other places as well, eggs are not washed during processing and consequently, still retain that protective coating. As a result, they can be stored at room temperature.

Vaccines against salmonella
But there is more that is done in some places. For example, in some European countries, egg-laying hens may be vaccinated against salmonella, thereby decreasing the risk of foodborne illness.

This issue is a good reminder that there is a lot of misinformation  about health out there these days. Understanding the science behind recommendations is key. Even someone you see on the news who appears to have good credentials and should be knowledgeable can lead you astray.

Helping people make sound nutritional choices based on science is what I do both as a nutrition communicator and as a nutrition counsellor. Hit me up with your questions (or contact me for one-on-one virtual sessions).


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Categories: Food Safety

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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One Comment on “Yes, you need to store your eggs in the fridge (Here’s why they don’t in Europe)”

  1. Jennifer
    May 17, 2023 at 7:17 am #

    Yes, it is bad that somebody with no knowledge and a catchy name gets a platform and sounds like an expert.

    I get eggs direct from farmer and they aren’t washed. Should I wash before cracking?

    Also what about ketchup and mustard? I feel they are okay to not refrigerate but pickles should be

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