What Happens If I Eat Expired Eggs? Food Poisoning Symptoms

Medically Reviewed on 5/20/2022
What Happens If I Eat Expired Eggs
Are eggs safe to eat after their expiration date? Learn about the risks of eating spoiled eggs

Eggs are rich in nutrients and an affordable staple of many households. But if they have been sitting in your fridge for several weeks, you may be wondering whether or not they are still safe to eat. 

Generally, it can be safe to eat expired eggs about 3-5 weeks past their sell-by date as long as they have been stored and cooked properly. The sell-by date indicates the date at which the market shelves need to be cleared of the egg cartons. It does not mean that the eggs are unfit for consumption after the sell-by date. 

However, it is important to understand the difference between expired eggs and spoiled eggs.

What are the risks of eating bad eggs?

Eating rotten or contaminated eggs carries the risk of making you very sick. 

Rotten eggs can be easily identified by a strong sulfur smell. 

Contaminated eggs contain bacteria called Salmonella which can penetrate the shell. Identifying Salmonella, however, can be tricky because even fresh eggs can be contaminated with Salmonella. Fortunately, this can be avoided by proper handling and cooking practices.

What are the symptoms of food poisoning?

If you eat eggs contaminated with Salmonella, you may develop food poisoning symptoms that typically begin between 6 hours and 6 days after consumption.

Symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning include:

Symptoms of Salmonella infection generally last for about 4-7 days, during which it is important to drink plenty of fluids. Contact your doctor immediately if you develop the following symptoms:

What does the expiration date mean for eggs?

Egg cartons are often labeled with dates making it clear when they were processed or packed, which can help you determine how long your eggs are safe to eat. 

  • Sell-by date: This date generally indicates the date at which sellers can have the eggs sold until they should be removed from the shelves. Eggs are generally safe to consume up to 3-5 weeks past the sell-by date as long as they are stored properly.
  • Expiration date: For eggs, the expiration date is the same as the sell-by date.
  • Use-by or best-by date: This date indicates when the eggs will be best in quality and flavor. Even if the eggs have passed their best-by date, you can consume them as long as they don’t have signs of spoilage.
  • Packed on date: This date tells you when the eggs were processed and packed in the carton or box. It is expressed as a three-digit code that represents the consecutive day of the year, ranging from 001 for January 1 and 365 for December 31. Eggs are generally safe to consume up to 3-5 weeks past the pack date as long as they are stored properly.


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

How to tell when eggs have spoiled

  • Smell: Spoiled eggs will have a putrid or sour smell when you crack them open. 
  • Cracks: Cracked shells act as an entry point for harmful bacteria such as Salmonella.
  • Color: If the egg white is greenish or iridescent, it could indicate the presence of bacteria. Normally the egg white is clear or cloudy with or without the presence of string-like structures or chalazae.
  • Tests: The float test or candle test can help you determine how fresh the eggs are. However, they will not necessarily tell you whether an egg has gone bad. 
    • Float test: Involves placing the eggs in a large bowl full of water; eggs that sink are considered fresh. 
    • Candle test: Helps you examine the presence of any blood or meat spot (a sign of fertilization) in the egg. You need to hold a light source near the broader side of the egg and then tilt it to one side holding it from its narrower end and quickly bringing it back.

Who should avoid eating expired eggs?

Although eggs can be consumed beyond their expiration date, certain groups of people may be more likely to get sick from eating expired eggs. Expired eggs should be avoided by:

How to reduce the risk of getting sick from eggs

Proper storage, handling, and cooking of eggs can protect you from getting sick from contaminated eggs:

  • Buy eggs from stores that keep the eggs properly refrigerated in hygienic conditions.
  • Discard cracked or dirty eggs.
  • Wash your hands, utensils, cutting boards, and kitchen counters if they have come into contact with raw eggs. 
  • Store eggs in your refrigerator at 40 F (4 C) or lower (in the main body of the refrigerator and not in the egg rack on your refrigerator door).
  • Buy pasteurized eggs and egg products, especially for recipes that involve light cooking or using raw eggs (such as Caesar salad dressing and hollandaise sauce).
  • Cook eggs thoroughly (at 160 F or higher) until the egg white and yolk appear firm).
  • Avoid tasting dough or batter that contains raw eggs.
  • Consume eggs soon after cooking. 
  • Refrigerate cooked eggs or foods prepared using eggs within 2 hours, or 1 hour if the eggs were exposed to temperatures above 90 F (such as inside a hot car).

What is the nutritional profile of eggs?

When stored and cooked safely, eggs are an excellent and versatile source of protein. One large egg (weighing about 50 grams) provides you with the following nutrients:

  • Energy: 71.5 kcal
  • Protein: 6.3 grams
  • Fats: 4.76 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0.36 grams
  • Calcium: 28 mg
  • Phosphorus: 99 mg
  • Potassium: 69 mg
  • Sodium: 71 mg
  • Selenium: 15.4 µg
  • Folate: 23.5 µg
  • Choline: 147 mg
  • Vitamin A: 270 IU
  • Vitamin D: 41 IU

What are the health benefits of eggs?

The rich nutritional profile of eggs makes them an ideal addition to any diet with many health benefits:

  • Rich in protein: Egg protein contains all the essential amino acids and in the right proportions. Because of this, all other protein sources are compared to eggs as a reference. Protein is essential for building healthy muscles, bones, and other body tissues. 
  • Good source of vitamin D: Egg yolk contains vitamin D, which serves several important functions in the body. Vitamin D helps keep bones and teeth healthy, boosts immunity, and helps lower inflammation in the body.
  • Promotes brain health: Eggs contain various essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that promote brain health. Eggs are a source of choline, which plays an essential role in brain functions such as memory. They also play a crucial role in fetal development, as the folate in eggs helps prevent neural tube defects in a developing fetus.
  • Aids weight loss: Because eggs are high in protein but low in calories, they are excellent for weight management. They are satiating and help limit calorie intake. Vitamins, minerals and choline in eggs also boost metabolism.  
  • Improves eye health: Eggs are good for your eyes because they contain various antioxidants including vitamin A which is needed to maintain healthy vision and prevent eye diseases such as macular degeneration.
  • Boosts immunity: Eggs play a crucial role in keeping your immune system healthy. The various nutrients in eggs such as protein, vitamin D, selenium, and antioxidants strengthen your immune system and help keep infections at bay.
  • Gluten-free: Because eggs are naturally gluten-free, they are also suitable for people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.


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How many eggs should you eat on a regular basis?

Although eggs are safe to consume for most people, eating too many eggs in one day can cause indigestion, bloating, nausea, and stomach discomfort. 

Studies report that most healthy people can safely consume 1 egg a day or 6-7 eggs a week. Consuming more than that could increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases, especially if you have high triglyceride levels.

People with health conditions such as diabetes or heart diseases should limit egg consumption to no more than 3 egg yolks a week. If you have difficulty controlling your blood cholesterol levels, you may opt to just eat the egg whites instead of the yolk. It is also important to cook eggs in healthy ways without too much fat or salt.

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Medically Reviewed on 5/20/2022
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