Refrigerate or Not?

Why The U.S. Chills Its Eggs And Most Of The World Doesn’t : The Salt : NPR.

We Americans, along with the Japanese, Australians and Scandinavians, tend to be squeamish about our chicken eggs, so we bathe them and then have to refrigerate them.

But we’re oddballs. Most other countries don’t mind letting unwashed eggs sit next to bread or onions.

Because of several salmonella outbreaks the US mandates eggs must be washed and refrigerated.  But that washes away the protective coating that naturally  comes on eggs.

The coating is like a little safety vest for the egg, keeping water and oxygen in and bad bacteria out. Washing can damage that layer and “increase the chances for bacterial invasion” into pores or hairline cracks in the shell, according to Yi Chen, a food scientist at Purdue University. So we spray eggs with oil to prevent bacteria from getting in, and refrigerate them to keep microorganisms at bay.

Geography Education says:

For many Americans that are traveling abroad for the first time, realizing that eggs aren’t in the refrigerator is a bit of a culture shock (not to mention the moment they find milk in a box that also isn’t being refrigerated). Agricultural practices dictate storage requirements and some things we might have imagined were universal are actually place-specific or peculiar to our cultural setting. What we are taught to think of as gross, appropriate, attractive or even sanitary is often steeped in a cultural context. So is it strange the we refrigerate our eggs in the United States, or that they don’t in other places?

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