Egg sellers serve customers at the Chiang Mai Gate market each morning in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Unlike in the U.S., eggs are not refrigerated in Thailand. I’ve witnessed this all over the developing world, and in many developed countries as well. For example, eggs in the UK are generally not refrigerated. That made me wonder, “Do eggs need to be refrigerated?” A Google search provided an answer, though I’m not certain I believe it.
Apparently, the question of whether or not eggs should be refrigerated has to do with the differing health regulations and processing methods. In the U.S., the Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires eggs to be washed and sprayed with a chemical sanitizer before being sold to the public. This, ostensibly, is designed to reduce the risk of salmonella infection. However some studies insist that washing increases the risk. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland, for example, says that washing eggs may “aid the transfer of harmful bacteria like salmonella from the outside to the inside of the egg.” Once an egg has been refrigerated, there’s no going back. According to the United Egg Producers association, “A cold egg left out at room temperature can sweat, facilitating the growth of bacteria that could contaminate the egg.” To learn more, check out this article in the Business Insider.