I'm sure I've written before about my grumpy old egg man at my local Hong Kong wet market and, lo and behold, here is that old sweetheart again, creeping grouchily into my story. Well, what happened is that one day a while ago I forgot (again!) to keep my mouth shut when I was buying my eggs (he has the best eggs!) and I asked a stupid question (stupid to him, not to me.) As I was standing there waiting for my egg man to wrap up my fresh free range eggs in a neat cone of newspaper, it dawned on me that all his eggs were just sitting out in the open air. In other words, they were not refrigerated! In the old days before I discovered him, I had always previously bought refrigerated eggs at the supermarket and kept my eggs in the refrigerator at home. So I asked my grumpy old egg man why he did not need to refrigerate his eggs. And, boy oh boy, did I get a long lecture that day about the general lack of food culture, lack of food knowledge, heck, even the overall degeneration of society, before he would hand over the eggs that I had already paid for. But the thing is, lecture or no, he never did answer my question: Refrigerate Eggs or Not? 雪蛋環是不雪蛋?
|A wet market shop selling unrefrigerated eggs|
So I did what any good food sleuth would do in a time like this and turned to the internet for some answers. Interesting! I found out that in Europe and Britain, the supermarkets don't refrigerate their eggs either! What was going on?!
After scratching my head a while over this eggy problem it turns out that egg sellers are not allowed to refrigerate eggs in Europe by law. Reason? There is a thin natural coating on eggs that protects the eggs against infiltration of bacteria, including salmonella, that pesky food bug. Also hens in Europe are vaccinated against salmonella. So the whole thing works out well since they started this system and the rate of salmonella infection there is very low.
In the USA egg sellers are required by law to wash/disinfect all eggs before selling. This effectively washes off the little egg's natural protective coating, so therefore the eggs are required to be in a constant refrigerated state from then on. Humm...
|Eggs on a non refrigerated supermarket shelf|
What do you think? How do you keep your eggs?