Producing safe, quality eggs is a complex process and responsibility that egg farmers take very seriously. Egg farms follow strict guidelines to produce safe, healthy eggs and provide care for their hens. On U.S. farms, eggs are typically shipped from the farm within one week of being laid.
In addition to visual examinations, eggs are candled over a light source that allows defects to become visible. Most eggs with internal irregularities are found through candling and not packed for sale – but it’s impossible to catch every one. Here’s a quick guide on some irregularities you may find in eggs, and what to do if you find one:
Eggs with blood and meat spots are safe to eat when prepared properly. Blood or meat spots are caused by the rupture of a blood vessel on the yolk surface when it’s being formed by a similar accident in the wall of the oviduct in the hen’s reproductive tract.
A double yolk is not only perfectly safe, but said to be good luck. Double yolks are usually produced by young chickens whose reproductive systems have not fully matured. Double yolks can also come from older chickens nearing the end of their egg producing period.
Some people find an internal irregularity in an egg and wonder if they found an embryo in the egg. Hens that produce eggs commercially never encounter a rooster, so there eggs purchased at the grocery store could not be fertilized with an embryo.