Proper handling and storage is perhaps the most important factor in determining freshness. Many eggs reach stores only a few days after the hen lays them.
If a freshly laid egg is left at room temperature for a full day, it will not be as fresh as a week old egg that has been refrigerated between 33 degrees F. Egg cartons with the USDA grade shield on them, indicating they came from a USDA-inspected plant, must display the ‘pack date’ (the day that the eggs were washed, graded, and placed in the carton).
The yolk of a very fresh egg will have a round and compact appearance and it will sit positioned quite high up in the middle of the egg. The eggs come out looking beautiful in their individual ramekins and are easy to serve.
The white that surrounds it will be thick and stays close to the yolk. Boiling Eggs How To Correctly Cook Hard-Cooked (Hard-Boiled) Eggs.
More specific information regarding requirements for labeling and marking or coding of meat, poultry and eggs can be found on the USDA’s website, or by contacting your local department of health.
The freshness of an egg is not only determined by the date when the egg was laid, but also by the way the egg has been stored.
The smaller end will lie on the bottom of the bowl, while the broader end will point towards the surface. However, if the egg fully floats in the water and does not touch the bottom of the bowl at all, it should be discarded, as it will most likely be bad.
Test the eggs freshness by breaking the egg onto a flat plate, not into a bowl.
The number is a three-digit code that represents the consecutive day of the year (the ‘Julian Date’) starting with January 1 as 001 and ending with December 31 as 365.
Sell By Date: Though not required, most egg cartons also contain a “sell by” date beyond which they should not be sold.