As long are they are kept 45 °F or lower, fresh shell eggs are safe to be consumed four to five weeks beyond the carton’s Julian date. What’s a “Julian date,” some may ask? For food, it means the number of days since the beginning of the calendar year. For example, the Julian date for February 1st is 32 (31 days in January + 1). Cartons with the USDA grademark must display a Julian date, indicting the day eggs were packed. It’s usually found on the short side of the carton. Egg cartons may also carry an “expiration” or “sell by” date beyond which the eggs should not be sold, but are still safe to eat. On cartons with the USDA grademark, this date cannot exceed 30 days after the eggs were packed in the carton. Depending on the retailer, the expiration date may be less than 30 days. Eggs packed in cartons without the USDA grademark are covered by state laws.
Image courtesy of University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension.