Should you wash eggs before cooking them?

The practice of washing eggs before cooking them has been debated by culinary experts, health authorities, and home cooks alike. The question at its core is about food safety, but also touches on the balance of preventing contamination versus potentially causing it.
In this article, we will explore the reasons behind the argument for and against washing eggs, what food safety experts recommend, and how you can ensure you are handling eggs correctly in your own kitchen.

Understanding Egg Safety and Contamination
Eggs, when laid by hens, have a natural protective coating called the “bloom” or “cuticle.” This layer is intended to keep out bacteria, such as Salmonella, which can contaminate eggs. Washing eggs can remove this natural barrier, introducing moisture that could foster bacterial growth.
Commercial egg producers often wash eggs before distributing them to retailers. This process is carefully controlled, and the eggs are dried and refrigerated promptly to minimize risk. However, the protective bloom is lost during this process, so the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandates that eggs be refrigerated to maintain safety post-washing.
The Case Against Washing Eggs at Home

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