The Reason American Eggs Would Be Illegal In The UK

Eggs are an important part of a diet no matter where you live. Per Healthline, a single egg is full of vitamins and minerals and so rich in nutrients it is truly a "superfood." But not all eggs are the same.

In fact, it might surprise you to learn American eggs would be considered illegal in the United Kingdom, and eggs from the U.K. couldn't pass muster in the United States. Both countries consume their fair share of these favorite breakfast foods. According to Watt Poultry, in 2020, people in the U.S. really chowed down on this staple, eating approximately 286 eggs per person, while our friends in the U.K. collectively ate 13.5 billion in 2021 or about 202 eggs per person, per Egg Info

So, what makes American eggs so different from British eggs? To start with, according to NPR, if you were to go to a grocery store to purchase an egg in the U.K. you would not be able to find them anywhere near the butter or sour cream. That's because Brits do not refrigerate their eggs like we do in the U.S. But that's not quite what makes American eggs illegal in the U.K.

Americans wash their eggs

According to Huff Post, what really separates American eggs from eggs in the U.K. is the fact that we wash our eggs in the U.S. before they go to market. NPR goes on to explain that America, along with a handful of other countries, are the only ones to do so. Why do we wash our eggs? To remove any harmful bacteria like salmonella that the porous eggs might pick up and pass along to their eater. NPR further shares that about a century ago, we were not alone in this practice, but as easy as it sounds, washing eggs properly is easy to get wrong. Which brings us back to why Americans refrigerate their eggs and Brits do not.

During the process of washing the egg to ensure there are no yucky bacteria on the shell, a protective coating is also washed away, making the egg susceptible to other bacteria. Food writer Michael Ruhlman told NPR"The egg is a marvel in terms of protecting itself, and one of the protections is this coating, which prevents them from being porous."

To make up for washing away the coating, egg producers spray an oil onto the egg and refrigerate them. American eggs that have been washed and refrigerated maintain freshness for almost a month and a half when stored properly, while unwashed and unrefrigerated eggs in the U.K. must be used within 3 weeks.