Is It Safe to Eat Eggs Past Their Expiration Date?

expiration date on egg carton
Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Some egg cartons have sell-by dates on them; others have expiration dates, but neither should be regarded as as an indication of when the eggs are no longer safe to use. In fact, both the FDA and Egg Safety Council agree that eggs are usually good for several weeks past the stamped date. So, how do you know when to toss your eggs?

One way to determine a reasonable use-by date is to count four to five weeks out from the date that the eggs were cleaned and packaged.

The USDA requires all graded eggs to have their pack date stamped on the carton. You'll usually find it on one of the ends, near the sell-by date or expiration date. It's listed as a Julian Date, so it'll be a three digit number. January 1 would be listed as 001 and December 31 would be listed as 365. To complicate matters slightly, it may be tacked onto the beginning or end of the plant number. Just look for the three digit number in the sequence and you have your pack date.

Another way to determine if your eggs are still good is to water test them. That process is outlined here

Eggs must be stored properly to reach the shelf life outlined above. Discard any eggs that have developed an off smell or color – even if they haven't reached their expected expiration date.

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