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The stunning listing of chemical compounds allowed in USDA natural egg washing and processing, which leaves the potential for poisonous residues given the porous nature of egg shells.
One of many targets of this weblog for the previous 15 years is to encourage individuals to take their meals sourcing domestically.
In different phrases, redirect as a lot of the meals finances as attainable to native producers or artisans.
What this implies, in apply, is the elimination of the “meals intermediary” that’s the Industrialized Meals System.
The Industrialized Meals System is the place practically the entire unhealthy issues occur to your meals.
This contains nourishing, entire meals like natural eggs. Even pastured and free-range varieties from small farms can fall sufferer to its regulatory risks.
You see, once you take a high quality product from a small farm and move it by way of the Industrialized Meals System, poisonous practices and meals adulteration often happen.
It’s not the identical product when it emerges from the Industrialized Meals System as when it first entered!
Let’s check out how natural eggs are washed as a simple instance.
USDA Natural Egg Wash Requirements
Whereas many individuals keep away from standard eggs as they know in regards to the poisonous chlorine washes which can be customary apply, because it seems, egg (and carcass) washes for USDA natural manufacturers really aren’t a lot better!
Egg shells are extremely porous and any chemical used to scrub the shell and coat it afterward can find yourself within the egg itself.
In keeping with Part 205.605 of USDA Poultry Tips, the next chemical compounds are authorised to be used as natural egg washes. (1)
- Sodium hypochlorite
- Potassium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide
- Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)
- Sodium carbonate (washing soda)
- Peracetic acid (Peroxyacetic acid)
Whereas two of those chemical compounds (H2O2 and sodium carbonate) are protected, the others are most undoubtedly not!
For instance, sodium hypochlorite is corrosive and an environmental hazard. (2)
Potassium hydroxide is corrosive and an irritant. (3)
Peracetic acid is flammable and corrosive in addition to an irritant and environmental hazard. (4)
How these chemical compounds are by some means allowed in “natural” egg manufacturing is past me.
Why doesn’t the USDA solely enable protected substances akin to hydrogen peroxide and sodium carbonate? Why the opposite poisonous trio as effectively?
Poisonous Vegetable Oil Coating after Washing
One other frequent apply is for natural eggs to be coated with vegetable oil after washing.
This “seals” the porous egg shells “for security”.
Part 205.605 of USDA Poultry Tips permits for this poisonous apply as effectively. (1)
What oils are used? Your guess is nearly as good as mine, nevertheless it doesn’t should be listed as a result of it’s an “business customary”. 🙄
My guess is that the most affordable seed oils are used akin to refined canola or sunflower oil.
How one can Discover Secure, Unwashed Eggs
The unhappy fact is that it’s crucial for customers to coach themselves and take evasive motion in relation to sourcing eggs. They can not depend on the USDA or natural requirements to guard them.
In my opinion, one of the best resolution is to maintain yard chickens your self. Our household has saved a small flock for over 10 years now, and I extremely suggest it!
The following neatest thing is to acquire contemporary, unwashed eggs from a neighbor or farmer’s market. Keep away from natural eggs from the shop as a lot as attainable.
When you suppose unwashed eggs are harmful, they aren’t!
The “bloom” or pure coating on an egg is extremely protecting, even permitting for the eggs to stay unrefrigerated for a lot of days.
In Europe and different components of the world, unwashed (and unrefrigerated) eggs may be discovered at shops and even out on the street!
The image under is a photograph I took myself of unwashed eggs sitting out unrefrigerated in a healthfood retailer within the Netherlands in 2018.
The following image under is a photograph I took on the streets of Venice, Italy in 2015.
Fully unrefrigerated, unwashed contemporary eggs out within the open air subsequent to greens and fruit!
The scare ways of the USDA in opposition to unwashed eggs are utterly unwarranted!
Greatest Natural Egg Manufacturers
If you end up in a meals desert the place contemporary, unwashed eggs will not be out there and preserving a number of hens your self isn’t an choice, then you have to to do some investigation of the out there egg manufacturers in your space.
The perfect natural egg model rating system I’ve seen is from the Cornucopia Institute. (5, 6)
Whereas this in-depth egg scorecard investigates an exhaustive listing of standards about dozens of natural egg manufacturers, sadly, the egg-washing course of isn’t amongst them!
Thus, I might recommend utilizing this scorecard to winnow down the listing of egg manufacturers which can be greatest and out there in your space.
Then, contact every farm straight (by cellphone is greatest in my expertise), to acquire data on the chemical compounds used to clean the eggs and the vegetable oil used to coat them earlier than they’re positioned in cartons and shipped to your retailer shelf.
In a worst-case situation, for those who should not have a “greatest” natural model out there in your space that makes use of unhazardous hydrogen peroxide or sodium carbonate as an egg wash, then a minimum of make sure you re-wash the eggs your self totally in heat, soapy water earlier than utilizing.
Whereas this isn’t a failsafe technique given the porous nature of egg shells, it will a minimum of cut back the prospect that chemical or rancid vegetable oil residues get into the eggs once you crack them.
(1) USDA Poultry Tips
(2) Sodium hypochlorite
(3) Potassium hydroxide
(4) Peracetic acid
(5) Egg Scorecard Standards, Cornucopia Institute
(6) Greatest Natural Egg Manufacturers