Animals can be pretty dirty – and ducks have got to be one of the messiest animals alive! Sometimes duck eggs can get dirt on them, so I have written a short post about when they can be eaten.
Eggs from all sorts of birds can contain some dirt or other material on the outside of the shell. This just happens, and should not be alarming whatsoever.
Personally I will eat any eggs that may have some material on the exterior – provided the egg is fresh and has been collected recently. There is research that suggests washing eggs can do more harm than good.
I’m not promoting eating grubby eggs, but I certainly do encourage people to refrain from washing their eggs whenever possible.
This might sound counter intuitive. But there is a really good reason to leave your eggs with a slightly dirty outer shell.
The only method to completely maintain the integrity of the egg’s bloom (protection) is to lightly scrub the egg shell with a fine cloth (or even light sandpaper).
Alternatively eggs can be “wet washed” with a clean cloth and clean, warm water. It’s important that the washed egg is kept in a clean environment from then on.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industry discourages washing and cleaning eggs. You can have a look at their instructions to wash eggs here.
Sometimes I do wet wash eggs, and I make sure that I follow the government guidelines. This means that I get a clean cloth and warm water to wipe any residue on the outside. I only sell very fresh duck eggs, so there is only a minute chance of any bacteria penetrating the egg before they’re consumed.
If consumers were willing to accept less than perfectly clean eggs, then that might make life easier for farmers – while simultaneously increasing the product life of the egg itself and thus providing the public with a better product.
Personally, I am willing to eat eggs that have a fair coating of dirt and mud on them. I know that they are fresh, the birds have a clean coop and are in excellent health (with plenty of space to roam).
I most certainly do not encourage anyone to soak their eggs in bleach. Apparently this is a relatively common practice in some areas, and I can only imagine the chemicals that will be ingested as a result.