“Once the date has passed, the egg loses its peak quality based on shelf life studies and consumer test preferences,” he explains. I use eggs 3-5 weeks from that date, because eggs degrade over time. For example, if the label contains the number 359, then the eggs … As the egg ages the whites will thin and shrink and not be as good for whipping, rising cakes and plump poached. The Julian date is usually found on the short side of the carton. It's listed as a Julian date… What does the date on eggs mean if it does not say sell by or expires by in the United States? No alternatives are permitted. What Does Your Egg Carton Label Mean? A “sell by” date means that the eggs are good for a few days past the stamped date. The date is also marked on the egg shell in the European Union. This is always a 3-digit date that corresponds to the day of the year the eggs were packed. Don’t use them after that). The pack date in the egg carton above is 088, which was March 27, 2015. January 1 is 001, and December 31 is 365 (except in a leap year). "So, that does not always mean that the eggs have gone bad. ggs are safe to be consumed four to five weeks beyond that date. You'll usually find it on one of the ends, near the sell-by date or expiration date. How can you be sure you’re making an egg-ucated decision about the type, size and color? The USDA recommends always buying your eggs from a refrigerated case, as this is an indicator that they have been properly stored. © 2020 Egg Safety Center. That is the date that the eggs were washed, graded (in this case Grade A), and packed in the carton. Some states also require eggs be stamped with an “expiration” date, which is scary-sounding but effectively a sell-by date. The cost aside, because there is a fair cost difference per egg depending on the size of the carton you buy, let’s just talk about the freshness and safety aspect. What the Egg Carton Really Means What the Egg Carton Really Means. Julian Date: Starting with January 1 as number 1 and ending with December 31 as 365, these numbers represent the consecutive days of the year. Always purchase eggs before their “sell by” date. This means eggs packaged on January 1st would be labeled 001, eggs packaged on October 15th would be labeled 288, December 31st 365. January 1 is 001, and December 31 is 365 (except in a leap year). You can get an idea of how fresh your eggs are by checking the Julian date. Active 4 months ago. When refrigerated, eggs will last longer than if set out at … The Best By date refers to the date recommended that you use the product by for best physical and/or sensory quality. This three-digit code indicates the date of packaging, starting with January 1 as 001 and ending with December 31 as 365. The eggs may still come in just the two colors, but now there are many different “types” of those two different colors of eggs. These numbers represent the consecutive days of the year. "Use-by," "sell-by," and "best-if-consumed-by" dates are guidelines for how long the food item is considered fresh or safe. All egg cartons have a pack date. E ggs are safe to be consumed four to five weeks beyond that date, as long as they are kept refrigerated. Best before date - The "best before" date does not guarantee product safety, but it does give you information about the freshness and potential shelf-life of the unopened food you are buying. The egg begins to lose moisture, and if you bought a carton of eggs on December 1 that has the packaging date of 306, well, your yolks might not taste so "eggcellent." This numbering system is sometimes used on egg cartons to denote the day the eggs are packed. All USDA-graded egg cartons must include a processing plant code. Dates on egg cartons and all other food packaging reflect food quality, not food safety. The eggs may still come in just the two colors, but now there are many different “types” of those two different colors of eggs. Once upon a time, when you went to the store to buy eggs you had two choices: white eggs or brown eggs. Expiration (EXP) Date: Egg cartons with the USDA grade shield must display a “pack date,” the date they went in the carton. I prefer the Julian date to determine freshness. If the cartons have the USDA grade shield, the date the eggs were packed must appear on the carton. Where The Eggs Were Packaged. “Once the date has passed, the egg loses its peak quality based on shelf life studies and consumer test preferences,” he explains. It allows consumers to distinguish free range eggs and organic farming eggs from the industrial caged hen production. When picking out eggs at the supermarket, most of us check the "best by" date, but it turns out those other numbers listed on the carton may be the real key to avoiding some very bad eggs. All rights reserved. Date – like in the case of any other product, egg labels contain a best-before date. The date on the carton is a sell by date so the grocer know when to pull older eggs. This all unravelled one night on Facebook, and I’m glad I know about egg codes now and how to identify them – hopefully you will now too! Table eggs are labeled with a "sell-by" date. All USDA-graded egg cartons must include a processing plant code. You'd rather buy fresh ones right? It means that the eggs were obtained from hens that are able to forage and roam on a pasture area. Question: Are eggs safe to eat after the Use By or Sell By date has expired? However, eggs can be safely eaten 2-3 weeks beyond the expiration date or sell by date. The pack date informs the consumer when the eggs were washed, graded, and packed into the cartons. A “Sell By” or “Expiration Date” ensures eggs aren’t kept on shelves past a certain date. Before you buy them, open up the carton and make sure the eggs have clean, uncracked shells. 3.2 “Commercial re-use of this carton is prohibited” should be printed on egg cartons in a font size of 3mm or greater and in Arial Bold font. Adding eggs to a healthy diet is a great idea, but buying eggs at the store can be really confusing. In addition to the dates, you should also check your eggs for cracks, purchase eggs that include the USDA grade mark, and buy eggs from a refrigerated case. Answer: The Use By or Sell By dates stamped on the end of an egg carton denotes the period of optimum egg quality. That means it’s possible to purchase eggs at the … This three-digit sequence refers to the specific date that your eggs were packaged (via Insider). Egg marking is a form of egg labelling that includes an egg code stamped on the egg itself. Not only does the carton code tell you wheneggs were packed, it can tells you where they were packaged too! Sweet Potato Turkey Hash and Poached Eggs, Boy of Steal’s Green Chile Egg Salad Sliders. No, it’s not an arbitrary serial number; it’s the Julian date, your fail-safe guide to fresh eggs. Information from the Georgia Egg Commission: Julian Date: Starting with January 1 as number 1 and ending with December 31 as 365, these numbers represent the consecutive days of the year. The USDA Grade on Egg Cartons: What Does It Mean? The Julian date is the “pack date,” when the eggs were washed, graded and place in the carton. When picking out eggs at the supermarket, most of us check the "best by" date, but it turns out those other numbers listed on the carton may be the real key to avoiding some very bad eggs. I have several cartons of eggs that have a date stamp but the date stamp does not say, sell by, expires by or best by. Once upon a time, when you went to the store to buy eggs you had two choices: white eggs or brown eggs. This date usually appears as a 3 digit code using the Julian date calendar. Not so anymore! All Rights Reserved. If you left your carton of eggs out on the counter for an extended period of time, the eggs would actually go bad before the date." cannot exceed 30 days after the eggs were packed in the carton. You'd rather buy fresh ones right? Dates on egg cartons and all other food packaging reflect food quality, not food safety. The plant code usually starts with a P and is followed by a four digit number. The words “Best Before” must be used. This is always a 3-digit date that corresponds to the day of the year the eggs were packed. On the side of your egg carton, right by (or below) the “Sell By” date, you’ll see a three-digit code. The USDA grade shield shows the eggs were graded for quality and checked for weight under the supervision of a USDA grader. Today's consumers must decipher a variety of dates on grocery products. Where The Eggs Were Packaged. 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