What to look for when buying eggs

What to look for when buying eggs

Egg farmers take great care and follow food safety programs and regulations on the farm. Once the eggs are safely transported to the store, it’s up to you to keep your eggs safe.

To make sure you buy safe, quality eggs, keep these tips in mind:

  • Always purchase eggs from a refrigerated case. After eggs are refrigerated on the farm they are stored and transported at an ambient air temperature of 45 degrees F.
  • Check the sell-by date. Always purchase eggs before the sell-by or expiration date. There may also be a Julian date on the carton, which is the date the eggs were packed. When kept refrigerated, fresh shell eggs are safe to be consumed four to five weeks beyond the Julian date.
  • Check for cracks. Open the carton and make sure no eggs have cracked, because bacteria can enter through cracks in the shell. If eggs crack on the way home, they can be safely used with some handling precautions.
  • Look for the UDSA grade mark or shield. Graded eggs must meet standards for quality and size.
  • Choose the most useful and economical egg size. Egg sizes include: small, medium large, X-large and jumbo.


Once you’ve selected your eggs, you can find tips on storage and handling on the In the Kitchen section of our site. If you are interested in new recipes for eggs, visit the Incredible Edible Egg. To keep up to date on egg safety, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.