Get Fresher Eggs: Reading Egg Cartons

To find the freshest eggs at the supermarket, you can decode the numbers on the carton. The number we’re looking for is the three digit number (circled in red below). This is the ordinal date (the day of the year) the eggs were packaged (so 1 is January 1, 2 is January 2, etc.) Assuming the eggs were all handled the same way, I think you can assume that eggs packaged more recently are fresher.

Egg carton codes

Interestingly, the “use by” by date (the month/day indicated on the carton) seems less reliable. These two cartons in my refrigerator have the same packing date yet the “use by” dates are more than a week apart. In my local grocery store, I’ve seen packaging dates more than three weeks apart on the shelf. While the eggs are probably all safe to eat, I’m confident there’s a big drop in quality between these eggs. (I look for how thick/runny the whites are.)

In case you’re curious, the Pxxxx number is the plant where the eggs were packed.

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Justin von Gortler Reply

Dear Tony,
I just read every entry of your blog site! To anyone with 45 minutes to kill at the car dealership, I highly recommend doing the same as a great way to pass the time. Also, I am reminded of how brilliant you are. No one else I know has interests as varied as you, or pursues them all as thoroughly. You're a modern day renaissance man, and I can't think of a more appropriate person to blog. Blog on, T! You have a faithful new follower! Justin

Brazil Johns Reply

Tony, Justin is right! Your blog rocks!, Fresh eggs? Who'd a thought.... Braz

Tony Reply

Thanks, guys! I'm very flattered.

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