Don’t get cracked: A guide to identifying bad eggs


Eggs are one of the most commonly consumed foods worldwide, but not all eggs are created equal. Cracked eggs, damaged eggs, and eggs that have gone bad can pose a health risk. For this reason, it’s important to know how to identify these bad eggs.

If you don’t know how to identify bad eggs, you run the risk of consuming them, which can cause foodborne illness. Foodborne illness can cause a range of symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and fever. In some severe cases, it can even lead to hospitalization or death.

Therefore, it’s important to follow this guide on “Don’t get cracked: A guide to identifying bad eggs” to ensure that you are consuming fresh and safe eggs.

Who This Guide is For

This guide is for anyone who buys eggs at the grocery store or farmers market, whether you are new to buying eggs or have been doing it for a while, it’s important to know what to look for when identifying bad eggs. This guide is also for people who are health-conscious and want to ensure that they are only consuming fresh and healthy eggs.

Step 1: Check the Best Before Date

The first step in identifying bad eggs is by checking the best-before date on the egg carton. Eggs usually have a shelf life of four to five weeks. After that period, the eggs may not be fresh anymore, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad.

If the best-before date has passed, that doesn’t mean that the eggs are bad. It only means that the eggs might not be as fresh as they were before, and they might not be as flavorful as fresher eggs.

Step 2: Check for Cracks

The second step in identifying bad eggs is to check for cracks or damage. It’s important to avoid eggs that are cracked, damaged, or with broken shells. Cracks in the eggshells are a sign that the egg has been compromised, and bacteria can quickly enter these cracks, which puts you at risk of foodborne illness.

Therefore, inspect each egg carefully to ensure that there are no cracks, holes, or any other defects in the shell. If an egg is cracked, it’s best to discard it or use it immediately.

Step 3: Observe the Eggshell Color

The color of the eggshell can also give you a clue about the egg’s freshness. Fresh eggs have a pale-colored shell, whereas older eggs will have a slightly darker shell. As the egg ages, the color of the shell will change, but this is not a sure way to determine if an egg has gone bad.

Step 4: Check for an Unfamiliar Odor

Fresh eggs don’t have any odor. So, if you find an egg that has a foul smell, it’s best to discard it. This is a sign that the egg is already bad, and it’s not safe to consume.

Step 5: Conduct a Water Test

Another way to determine if an egg has gone bad is by conducting a water test. This test will tell you if an egg is still fresh or if it has gone bad.

To conduct this test, fill a bowl with water and gently place the egg in it. If the egg submerges and lies flat on the bottom of the bowl, it means it’s fresh. If the egg stands on one end, it means it’s not so fresh but still safe to consume. But, if the egg floats on the water surface, it means the egg is bad, and you should discard it.

Additional Tips

Here are some additional tips to help you identify bad eggs and avoid foodborne illness:

1. Store eggs properly – Store eggs in the refrigerator to prolong their freshness. Make sure that your refrigerator is always set at a temperature of 40°F or lower to ensure that your eggs remain fresh.

2. Buy eggs from reputable sources – Make sure to buy eggs only from reputable sources like grocery stores and farmers markets.

3. Never buy cracked eggs – Always inspect the egg carton carefully before buying to ensure that there are no cracked eggs.

4. Don’t use expired eggs – Make sure to use eggs before their best-before date. Sometimes, an egg might look fine, but it could have gone bad and may cause foodborne sickness.

5. Cook eggs thoroughly – Always make sure to cook eggs thoroughly as this will kill any bacteria that could cause foodborne illness.

Tools and Resources

Here are some tools and resources that can help you to identify bad eggs:

1. Egg timer – An egg timer can help you to calculate the correct cooking time for your eggs. This will ensure that your eggs are cooked properly.

2. Food thermometer – A food thermometer can help you to check the temperature of your cooked eggs. This will ensure that your eggs are cooked to the correct temperature to kill bacteria.

3. USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service – The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service website has a lot of information on food safety, including eggs. You can find information on safe handling, storage, and cooking of eggs.


Don’t take any risks when it comes to your health. Making sure that you only consume fresh and safe eggs is crucial. Follow the steps in this guide to identify bad eggs, and make sure to follow the tips and additional resources offered to help you avoid foodborne illness.

By following the tips in this guide, you will be able to identify bad eggs and reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Always remember to check the best-before date, examine the eggshell for cracks, smell the egg to check for any unusual odor, and conduct a water test to see if the egg has gone bad.

Knowing how to identify bad eggs will help you make sure that you are consuming fresh and safe eggs, which will promote your health and well-being.

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