Can you eat eggs 2 months out of date?

Quick Answer

Eggs that are up to 2 months past their expiration date can generally be eaten safely, provided they are cooked thoroughly. However, eggs that are more than 2 months past date or are damaged should be discarded. Proper storage, such as refrigeration, can help extend the shelf life of eggs. When in doubt, perform a visual inspection and smell test to check for signs of spoilage before consuming eggs past their date.

Expiration Dates and Egg Safety

The expiration date printed on egg cartons is not actually an indicator of food safety, but rather the “sell by” date – the last day stores are supposed to display eggs for sale. Eggs can still be consumed for 3-5 weeks after this date. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) considers eggs safe to use for 3-5 weeks after the sell by date.[1]

After this time, eggs begin to lose quality but do not necessarily become unsafe to eat immediately. Many eggs are still fine to eat for an additional 1-2 months past the sell by date, provided they have been stored properly in the refrigerator.

As eggs age, the protective cuticle on the shell weakens and the contents lose moisture. Older eggs are more susceptible to odors and contamination through the increasingly porous shell. Over time, the white becomes runnier while the yolk membrane weakens and the yolk flattens. However, these changes alone do not render the eggs unsafe or inedible.

Signs of Spoilage

While the sell by date is not an absolute indicator of safety, eggs should still be inspected before use, particularly if they are older. Signs that eggs have gone bad and should be discarded include:[2]

– Unpleasant odors – Rotten eggs give off a distinct sulfur smell
– Discoloration – Greenish, grayish, or black tinges indicate microbial growth
– Blood spots or meat spots – Found on the yolk; safe to eat but not appetizing
– Watery whites – Whites become less viscous as eggs age
– Runny, flat yolk – The yolk membrane weakens over time
– Mold or fuzzy growth – Visible on the shell or egg contents

If an older egg passes the visual and smell test, it should be safe to eat if cooked thoroughly. Proper cooking kills any bacteria that may be present. Raw or undercooked egg dishes are only safe when prepared with very fresh eggs.

Proper Egg Storage

Proper storage is key to maximizing the shelf life of eggs past their sell by date. The USDA recommends storing eggs in their original carton on the refrigerator’s middle shelf, where the temperature is the most constant.[3] The carton helps prevent moisture loss. Eggs should not be stored on the refrigerator door, as the temperature fluctuations shorten their shelf life.

Washing eggs also removes their protective cuticle, so they should not be washed until ready to use. However, very dirty eggs may be gently washed in warm water. Always check for cracks before purchasing eggs, as cracked eggs do not keep well.

With ideal storage in the refrigerator, fresh shell eggs can last 3-5 weeks beyond the sell by date before quality starts to decline. Refrigeration below 40°F slows bacterial growth. Fresh eggs may even last up to 2 months beyond the sell by date if continually refrigerated.

Reasons to Toss Old Eggs

While eggs can often be safely eaten a few weeks to a couple months beyond their sell by date, there are some reasons to be more cautious and discard older eggs:

Weakened immune system – Those who are very young, elderly, pregnant, or immunocompromised are at higher risk for illness from bacteria like salmonella. Older eggs should be discarded after 3-4 weeks beyond the sell by date as a safety precaution.

Broken shell or damaged membrane – Cracks allow bacteria to enter inside the egg. Eggs with cracked shells should always be discarded.

Floating in water – A critical sign of aging eggs, as air builds up inside the shell as contents evaporate and quality declines. Floating eggs should be thrown out.

Left unrefrigerated – Eggs left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours should not be stored again in the refrigerator due to increased bacteria growth.

Raw egg dishes – Raw eggs like homemade mayonnaise or Caesar salad dressing become much riskier with older eggs. Use extra caution.

Odd appearance, smell, or texture – If older eggs look or smell funny, it’s better to be safe than sorry and throw them away.

How Long Do Hard Boiled Eggs Last?

Hard boiling eggs can extend their usable life. According to the USDA, hard boiled eggs stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 1 week in their shells or 5 days peeled.[4]

To maximize shelf life, eggs should be hard boiled immediately before use rather than boiled in batches and stored. Hard boiled eggs can be kept refrigerated for up to 5 days before quality declines.

After 5 days, hard boiled eggs may develop an iron-like odor as the yolk darkens and dries out. The whites become rubbery and watery. Mold growth eventually causes hard boiled eggs to spoil and should not be consumed.

Storing Hard Boiled Eggs

For best quality, hard boiled eggs should be stored in their shell in the refrigerator to minimize air exposure. Peeled hard boiled eggs can be stored immersed in cold water in an airtight container, changing the water daily.

Hard boiled eggs for use in dishes like egg salad can be kept peeled in an airtight container for 3-4 days. The shelf life is shorter than intact hard boiled eggs due to increased exposure to air and risk of contamination.

Freezing hard boiled eggs also extends their expiration date. They can be frozen in their shell or peeled for up to 1 year. The whites may become rubbery after thawing.

How to Tell if Hard Boiled Eggs Have Gone Bad

The following signs indicate hard boiled eggs have spoiled and should be discarded:

– Unpleasant sulfur or rotten odor
– Grayish, greenish or black discoloration around the yolk or white
– Pink, blue, red or purple hues on the yolk or egg white
– Mold growth on the shell or egg contents
– Soft, slimy texture of whites or yolks
– Dry, tough, or crumbly yolk texture

Eating Eggs After Expiration Date

Here are some tips for safely consuming eggs after their sell by date:

– Inspect eggs visually before use. Discard any with cracks, foul odors, or odd appearances.

– Perform the float test. Submerge eggs in water – if they float to the top, toss them.

– Refrigerate eggs at 40°F or below for longest shelf life. Do not wash eggs until ready to use.

– Cook older eggs thoroughly until both yolks and whites are firm. Avoid raw and undercooked egg dishes.

– Peel hard boiled eggs right before eating for best quality and food safety.

– Refrigerate hard cooked eggs within 2 hours of cooking and use within a week.

– Throw out peeled hard boiled eggs after 3-4 days. Discard intact hard boiled eggs after 7 days.

– Exercise additional caution with older eggs if you have immunity concerns. When in doubt, throw it out.

The Takeaway

The sell by date on a carton of eggs refers to their highest quality and not safety per se. Eggs can often be consumed weeks to months beyond this date with minimal issues provided they have been continually refrigerated. However, it is still smart practice to inspect older eggs before consuming them.

Look for signs of spoilage like off-odors, sliminess, floating, discoloration, or mold. Bad eggs should be thrown away. While eggs past their prime may not look or smell their freshest, thoroughly cooking older eggs makes them safe to eat in the majority of cases. Hard boiled eggs similarly last 1 week refrigerated. With some common sense precautions, eggs rarely need to go to waste simply due to an expired date stamp.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you eat eggs 2 months after expiration date?

Most eggs can be safely eaten up to 2 months after their expiration date as long as they have been continuously refrigerated and do not have any signs of spoilage like unpleasant odors, texture changes, or discoloration. The sell by date is not a firm cutoff for egg expiration. Always inspect eggs before consuming if they are very old.

Do eggs go bad after 30 days?

Eggs typically do not go bad until at least 30 days after the sell by or expiration date, thanks to refrigeration. With proper storage, eggs can often last 5-6 weeks past the date on the carton before signs of spoilage appear. Always inspect older eggs before consuming to check for quality issues.

Can I eat eggs 50 days after expiration date?

Eggs stored in the refrigerator may still be consumed 50 days after the sell by date, but it depends on how they have been stored. Continual refrigeration helps prolong freshness. However, inspect eggs closely at this age for odors, appearance changes, and floating in water, which are signs they should be discarded. Exercise caution with eggs over 60 days past date.

Do eggs expire at midnight on expiration date?

No, eggs do not necessarily expire right at midnight on the sell by date stamped on the carton. This date is simply a guideline for peak freshness, not an indicator of the exact moment eggs are no longer usable. Refrigerated eggs often stay fresh and usable for several weeks after the date expires.

How can you tell if an older egg is still good?

Carefully inspect eggs before using them if they are past the sell by date. Look for unpleasant odors when cracked open, visible discoloration or egg contents, blood spots, extremely runny whites, and flattening or breakdown of the yolk. Floating eggs and mold growth also indicate spoilage. If older eggs pass inspection, they should be safe to consume if thoroughly cooked.

The Bottom Line

With proper storage and handling, most eggs remain fresh and usable for a period of time past the expiration date on the carton. While the sell by date indicates peak quality, refrigerated eggs rarely go bad overnight. Know what to look for when evaluating older eggs, and be sure to cook them thoroughly. With a little caution, eggs can often be safely enjoyed even a couple months after their prime date. Just remember, when in any doubt – toss them out!

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