value...cost and convenience should be considered when buying eggs.
use USDA's voluntary shell egg grading service have their facilities and procedures
federally approved and monitored to ensure that they meet USDA's rigid sanitary
requirements. Other packers operate according to State laws.
protein, vitamin A, riboflavin, and other vitamins and minerals. The yolk contains
all the fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol in an egg. In 1 large egg, the yolk
contains 5 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fatty acids, 213 milligrams cholesterol,
and 60 calories. The egg white contains 15 calories. Use the Nutrition Facts
panel on each individual product label to learn about the nutrient content
of that food and how it fits into an overall daily diet.
a diet low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol to help reduce the risk of getting
certain diseases and to help maintain a healthy weight. The Dietary Guidelines
for Americans suggest choosing a diet containing 30 percent or less of calories
from fat, and less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids. Also,
some health authorities suggest that dietary cholesterol be limited to an average
of 300 milligrams or less per day.
Food Guide Pyramid suggests 2 to 3 servings each day of food from the meat group,
the equivalent of 5 to 7 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish. Because
egg protein is of high quality, eggs are an alternative to lean meat, poultry,
and fish. Count one whole egg as 1/3 serving, and remember that egg yolks should
be limited to four per week.
Substitute 2 egg whites for each whole egg in muffins, cookies, puddings,
and pie fillings. Some specialty egg products are available, such as liquid whole
eggs that are lower in fat and cholesterol, liquid products made without yolks,
and dried whites for cake decorators. When you choose a whole egg, balance your
cholesterol intake by choosing other foods that are low in cholesterol.
and Weight (Size) Assurance
eggs are packed according to official U.S. quality grade standards and weight
(size) classes. The grade and weight (size) are printed on the egg carton.
USDA grade shield on the carton means that the eggs were graded for quality and
checked for weight (size) under the supervision of a technically trained USDA
grader. USDA's grading service is voluntary; egg packers who request it, pay for
it. Compliance with grade, weight (size), and sanitary requirements is monitored
packers who do not use the USDA grading service will put terms such as "Grade
A" on their egg cartons without the shield. Their compliance with grade, weight
(size), and other requirements is monitored by State agencies.
by Weight (Size)
(U.S. Weight Class)
tells you the minimum required net weight per dozen eggs. It does not refer to
the dimensions of an egg or how big it looks. Eggs of any weight (size) class
may differ in quality. Most published recipes are based on large-size eggs.
|Minimum net weight|
|Extra Large||27 ounces|
by U.S. Grade (Quality)
are three consumer grades for eggs: U.S. Grade AA, A, and B. The grade is determined
by the interior quality of the egg and the appearance and condition of the egg
shell. Eggs of any quality grade may differ in weight (size).
Grade AA eggs have whites that are thick and firm; yolks that are high, round,
and practically free from defects; and clean, unbroken shells.
Grade A eggs have whites that are reasonably firm; yolks that are high, round,
and practically free from defects; and clean, unbroken shells. This is the quality
most often sold in stores.
Grade B eggs have whites that may be thinner and yolks that may be wider and
flatter than eggs of the higher grades; the shells must be unbroken, but may show
slight stains. This quality is seldom found in retail stores.
Grade AA and A eggs are good for all purposes, but especially for poaching and
frying where appearance is important. U.S. Grade B eggs, if available, are fine
for general cooking and baking.
Marks of Quality
eggcovers small area and stands high; white is thick and firm; yolk is high
eggcovers moderate area; white is reasonably firm and stands fairly high;
yolk is high.|
candling-- egg passing over a light. Eggs with cracked shells and interior
defects are identified and removed.|
Parts of an Egg
Outer covering of egg, composed mainly of calcium carbonate.
May be white or brown depending on breed of chicken. Color does not affect quality,
flavor, cooking characteristics, nutritional value, or shell thickness.
-- Shell Membranes
Two membranes -- outer and inner -- just inside the
shell surrounding the albumen (white). Provide protective barrier against bacterial
penetration. Air cell forms between membranes.
-- Air Cell
Pocket of air usually found at large end of the egg between
shell membranes. Caused by contraction of contents while egg cools after laying.
Increases in size with age.
-- Outer Thin Albumen (White)
Nearest to the shell. Spreads around thick
white of high-quality egg.
-- Firm or Inner Thick Albumen (White)
Excellent source of riboflavin
and protein. In high-quality eggs, stands higher and spreads less than thin white.
In low-quality eggs, appears like thin white.
Twisted, cord-like strands of egg white. Anchor yolk in center
of thick white. Prominent, thick chalazae indicate high quality and freshness.
7 -- Vitelline
Colorless membrane surrounding yolk.
Yellow portion of egg. Color varies with feed of the hen; does
not indicate nutritional content. Major source of vitamins, minerals, almost half
of the protein, and all of the fat and cholesterol. Germinal disc; slight depression
barely noticeable on side of yolk.
and Storing Tips
buy refrigerated eggs with clean, unbroken shells.
is best not to wash eggs before storing or using them. Washing is a routine part
of commercial egg processing and the eggs do not need to be rewashed.
home, keep raw eggs in their original carton on an inside shelf in the refrigerator
(40 °F). For best quality, use within 5 weeks after bringing them home.
hard-cooked eggs (in the shell or peeled) in the refrigerator (40 °F). Use within
1 week after cooking.
eggs sold today are infertile; roosters are not housed with the laying hens. Shell
color depends on the breed of the hen. Yolk color depends on the feed the hen
consumes. There is no nutritional difference between fertile and infertile eggs,
brown- and white-shelled eggs, or pale or dark egg yolks.
hands, utensils, equipment, and work areas with hot, soapy water before and after
they come in contact with eggs and egg-containing foods.
only the number of eggs needed from the carton and return the carton to the refrigerator.
Cook eggs until
the white is completely firm and the yolk begins to thicken but is not hard. Scrambled
eggs should be cooked until no visible liquid remains. Fried eggs should be cooked
on both sides or in a covered pan.
care when preparing egg-containing foods that are not cooked or are only lightly
cooked before serving, such as ice cream, eggnog, mayonnaise, caesar salad, hollandaise
sauce, or bearnaise sauce. Only use recipes that start with a stirred egg custard
base that is first cooked to 160 °F.
a recipe calls for adding raw eggs to a previously cooked dish, the dish must
be cooked further until it reaches 160 °F.
preparing any recipe that contains eggs, resist the temptation to taste-test the
mixture during preparation. Egg-containing foods should be thoroughly cooked before
preparing and serving eggs and egg-rich foods, keep them out of the refrigerator
no more than 2 hours total, not including cooking time.
hot egg-rich foods are not going to be served immediately after cooking, put the
hot foods into shallow containers and refrigerate at once so they will cool quickly.
about egg safety, call USDA's Meat and Poultry Hotline. The national toll-free
number is 800-535-4555. In the Washington, DC, area, call (202) 720-3333.
For more information
about nutrition, write:
U.S. Department of Agriculture,
Center for Nutrition
Policy and Promotion
1120 20th Street NW, Suite 200 North
the Food Guide Pyramid to help you eat better every day...the Dietary Guidelines
way. Start with plenty of Breads, Cereals, Rice, and Pasta; Vegetables; and Fruits.
Add two to three servings from the Milk group and two to three servings from the
Meat group. Each of these food groups provides some, but not all, of the nutrients
you need. No one food group is more important than another - for good health you
need them all. Go easy on the fats, oils, and sweets, the foods in the small tip
of the Pyramid.
TO BUY EGGS
for the Grade
Grade AA and U.S. Grade A eggs have whites and yolks that stand high and are practically
free from defects, and shells that are clean and unbroken.
for the Size
is the required minimum net weight per dozen eggs.
TO BUY EGGS
Home and Garden Bulletin No. 144
Agricultural Marketing Service
Issue date: February 1995