It’s become cliche to write about how delicious fresh eggs from backyard hens are. By now you’ve also heard, (probably several times over) how the nutritional profile of eggs from free-ranging hens is better than that from chickens confined in factory-like facilities. It is also true that eggs from backyard flocks have more natural defenses against bacterial diseases, like salmonella, than eggs from the large production facilities. I’ve written about this before, and the details are in this FAQ.
There’s yet another reason why eggs from your own hens are safer, one that isn’t as well known. Eggs in the supermarket look clean, perfect and hygienic. Looks are deceiving. I read poultry industry newsletters. They’re eye-opening. One researcher, who is marketing a new system for cooling eggs, had this to say,
Traditionally, eggs are at more than 100 degrees when placed into a carton. (Eggs are put through a hot disinfectant bath before packing.)Thirty dozen eggs are then packed in a case, and 30 cases are stacked onto pallets and placed in refrigerated coolers. The eggs in the middle of the pallet can take up to 142 hours – nearly six days – to cool to 45 degrees.
He went on to state that a 2005 US government report showed that if eggs were cooled and stored at 45 degrees within 12 hours of laying, there would be about 100,000 fewer salmonella illnesses from eggs in the nation each year.
Think about that. Then, breathe a sigh of relief, go out to your coop, collect your eggs, and thank your girls.