Am I ruining my eggs by washing them this way?

acer(6b western NC)December 22, 2009

I'm new to collecting and washing eggs, and I'm afraid I'm doing it wrong. These are duck eggs which can sometimes be a little on the dirty side. Here's my method:

We live on a clear mountain creek, and for caked-on mess, I sometimes use a handful of clean creek sand to scour them. Then I wash them with mild soap, and finish up with a short soak in a diluted bleach solution. They come out pristine-clean, germ-free, and beautiful. But I read somewhere about removing some kind of "bloom" that shortens their shelf life. I could use some advice here. Thanks!

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There is a film that covers the eggs applied when laid from within the ovaduct and removing it allows bacteria to pass. Soaking in a bleach solution is highly unrecomended, as the bleach is entering the egg. The best way to clean eggs is blotting with damp sponge, if they are too dirty toss em. Try collecting a couple times aday and make sure the nest boxes are clean.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 12:14PM
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sheryl_ontario(Muncho Lake, BC z2)

Everyone who sells their eggs, washes them first. I believe it is the law to dip them in a mild bleach solution or use commercial egg wash. Just don't use detergent. Below is a link to a long previous discussion on how to wash eggs.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to wash eggs thread

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 1:29PM
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The law on selling eggs varies stae to state, along with the differences in law regarding small farm sales and large commercial sales. The only problem with dipping them in mild bleach solution arises when you use detergents and wash off the bloom covering which opens the poors in the egg, this bloom can be replaced with a light application of vegetable oil. But the best way to wash eggs is to keep them clean in the beginning. Here in IN there is no law about using bleach solution, because its a known fact that within the egg the egg itself is sterile, its when bacteria can breach the shell, or when the shell is cracked that you have a problem. In the state of IN the laws pertain to the cleanliness of the shell, an intact bloom, or oil covering, and temperature eggs are kept at. Ive been raising and selling eggs for 15 years, and my system has never failed.

Keep nest spotless is the first rule, if eggs are laid outside, tossem, if eggs are laid on floor of barn or coop and you know they are fesh, if clean ok, if filthy , tossem, inspect eggs, breakage, use a candler, bloodspots, size of blood spots,shell thickness, how filthy are they.

You are a small egg producer, the things commercial producers do are to combat the horrid conditions in which thier eggs are produced in, do a search on battery egg production.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 10:00PM
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Don't toss them, scramble them and feed them to the feathered ones.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 10:18PM
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In Europe, a washed egg is not sold as Grade A. I stopped selling eggs a year ago, but still keep a flock of chickens for our own use. I've done Geese but not ducks, so I don't know how clean you can keep a duck egg, but I seldom have had to wash a chicken egg because I keep their bedding as fresh as I can in the laying boxes and if they are outside in mud, gather several times a day to keep them from fouling otherwise clean eggs with it. The bloom on the egg is a natural protection against bacteria moving into the egg itself. If at all possible, you would want to keep it intact.

You didn't say if you were selling them or using them for personal consumption. If you are selling them, then your state will have it's own guidelines of how you handle them to stay safe and legal.

If you must wash an egg, always use water warmer than the egg. If an egg is stained, even after washing. It's compromised.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 10:40PM
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I just wash my eggs carefully a hand dried damp cloth that has been soaked in warm water.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2009 at 11:55AM
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I've just asked one of my friends who deals with duck eggs and says he uses Brinsea egg wash to clean his eggs. It's a disinfectant and fully biodegradable solution that has been specifically formulated to clean eggs.

Here is a link that might be useful: Duck eggs

    Bookmark   December 24, 2009 at 12:04PM
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sheryl_ontario(Muncho Lake, BC z2)

There are a few commercial egg washes out there for that specific purpose.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2009 at 12:30PM
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I don't think I would put bleach on my eggs but that is just my preference. The only thing I do is take a wet paper towel and wipe them off if they are dirty. If they are really badly soiled I cook them for the critters. Right now I'm getting some soiled eggs because of all the bad weather and I admit I have not put fresh straw into the nesting boxes for a while. I need to do that this weekend. I sell a few here and there, mostly to coworkers. Lori

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 2:40AM
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I thought Id add you can get a dump truck to haul a load of ag lime from a stone quarry, or other place, and you spread the lime in your nest house and outside of the coop a couple inches deep, this will disinfect the area and keep the mud and filth down so youll get cleaner eggs. Then when you rake the area the lime will be an added bonus to the compost and garden

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 9:46PM
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sheryl_ontario(Muncho Lake, BC z2)

Good idea about the lime. I have been wondering what I could put down in the pen to keep their feet cleaner. It is sand now but gets quite muddy.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 7:04AM
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acer(6b western NC)

I should have mentioned that I'm hoping to sell these eggs, so I'm being extra-careful about sanitation. I've let up though. I'm using baking soda instead of sand, milder soap, hot water, and a very diluted hot bleach solution for a shorter time. The eggs look pristine and taste great. But I'm still open to input.

Harlequin Creek

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 10:47AM
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You can't sell those eggs and you shouldn't be eating them. They are contaminated.
Eggs should always be sprayed with water that is at least 120 degrees. Putting cold water on eggs causes them to suck all the bad stuff into the pores and contaminate the inside. It is against the law to sell eggs that have been soaked because that get's all kinds of nasty stuff inside the eggs.
Duck eggs are bad. They get them really dirty.
This is how I wash my eggs (there is a USDA website the describes egg washing).
My water is around 160 degrees. I have a container of extremely hot water (it's a three pound margarine tub)with about 1/2 teaspoon of bleach in it.
I have hot water running slowly( I have a huge commercial sink).
The eggs are put in a large flat plastic tray. The tray has holes in it like a laundry basket.
I spray the eggs with hot water to loosen dirt.
Then I sprinkle baking soda over them (it provides a fine grit).
Then I wash each one with a plastic Scotch Scrubber pad that I dip into the bleach water frequently and do a final scrub under the running water.
The egg then goes into another plastic tray.
When all the eggs have been washed I pour the hot bleach water over them and using the sprayer at it's highest pressure rinse them thouroughly with hot water.
Then the eggs are placed on a clean towel in a cool room( a towel that has been washed in bleach water (I also use fragrance free detergent) and dried without using any kind of softener or dryer sheet to contaminate it). Since the outside of the eggs are hot they dry in about 5 minutes.
And I DO sell eggs commercially.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 4:13AM
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acer(6b western NC)

Thanks for the tips and sharing your process. Mine is similiar, and no, I do not use cold water and while I did give a few already washed eggs a short dunk a few weeks ago, I don't do it now. So you're a commercial chicken egg supplier? I used a lot of those until my birds started laying. Duck eggs are not "bad" or contaminated. Saying so is a judgement against the people who eat them, in my opinion. I keep their nest boxes clean and collect them early. My birds spend their days happily foraging along our fast-moving mountain creek, and if a little "dirt" gets on the eggs, it's completely removed. And I do sell my eggs. Legally. You know, I've got nothing against chicken eggs- I eat them too. But you really should try duck. They're great. Especially my clean, NOT bad, UNcontaminated ones.

Thank you,
Harlequin Creek

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 9:17AM
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You need to read what I posted. Duck eggs are not contaminated but every one of your eggs that are dunked in cold water or Soaked are contaminated.
It is against the law to sell eggs that have been soaked. If your process was inspected you would be shut down.
I raised ducks, sold and ate duck eggs for years but the laying habits of ducks are extremely unsanitary. They lay them in mud puddles and other nasty places. I had a couple of ducks that would lay in the nest enclosure but most of them used the protected roots at the base of the trees. And then I had the ones who just could not resist the mud puddles. One even had this idea that it was best to roll the eggs around in mud until they looked like rocks or dirt clods.
I raised black Indian Runners and Roen.
Finally got rid of them when I had 40 ducks producing only 2 eggs a day. Wouldn't have been bad but the local small animal auction closed down and I couldn't get rid of the non-producers and start over.
No Asian markets in the area either..

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 11:21PM
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acer(6b western NC)

OK. Perhaps I should have made it more clear: The fine creek sand that I used was not cold. It was fresh from the creek, but I did mix it with HOT water. I simply used it like sandpaper. I scrubbed about 12 eggs that way. I do NOT use that method any more. I do NOT use cold water in any part of my cleaning process, and I don't soak the eggs. I pour hot water over them in a wire basket, but I don't soak them. My birds are housed at night in a predator-proof coop with nest boxes lined with straw. They lay eggs in these boxes before I release them, and I have never had one laid on the ground. If an egg looked like a dirt clod I wouldn't use it. My ducks spend the day along our rocky, clean, cold, spring-fed, fast-moving mountain creek. My birds are mostly Welsh Harlequins imported directly from Holderreads Waterfowl Farm. I chose them for their egg-laying ability, which is reportedly equal to or better than a good chicken. I've had dozens of eggs so far even in fall/winter, and they taste great. I realize that as ducks (and chickens) age, their egg production decreases. I will deal with that later. I don't have the info in front of me now, but as I remember it, The North Carolina Egg Law applies its stricter rules for those selling over 30 dozen eggs per week. I will not ever come close to that, but if I did, my eggs are still cleaned in compliance with the law. I've been in contact with the NC agricultural authorities to be sure. I started this whole endeavor as a fun hobby to do with my young daughters, and I will sell at most a few dozen eggs a week at a local tailgate market. I'm not a commercial grower, just a stay-at-home-mom trying to reconnect with her farm roots. I appreciate where you're coming from, and I can see that you have valuable information, but I really don't need someone implying that duck eggs are "bad" just because they come from ducks. They're not. I'm trying to sell a quality product here, and this is simply meant to be a fun, educational bonding experience with my kids.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 2:26PM
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I will repeat. I never said they are bad because them come from ducks. I meant they are bad because ducks have the habit of making them really dirty and a lot of them need to be thrown away. I'm real picky about my eggs. I find eggs that are sold in the store that I would not even wash. They would be given to the dog.
I inspect even what look like perfectly clean eggs because you will sometimes find tiny spots that look like watermarks found on paper. They ARE watermarks. They indicate a problem with some of the pores that are allowing liquid to flow in and out of the egg and it leaves a mark. The pores should allow oxygen to flow...not liquid.
Other eggs will have something that might look like a spiderweb pattern on the shell. This is from microcracks. That egg is trash. But you see these eggs at the store all the time.
I also eat pheasant eggs but I haven't found anybody who would buy them to eat.
If you are close to an Asian market or asian community you can sell any kind of poultry and eggs.
About the "bloom". Duck eggs are completely different from chicken eggs. A chicken egg is dry within seconds after it is laid. A duck egg has a tacky coating/membrane on the outside that dries more slowly. Once it has dried you don't know it is there but if you happen to get one that is "right out of the chute" it is sticky. This sticky protects the egg but is removed when you scrub it.If an egg isn't "dirty" all it gets from me is the extremely hot water spray and the bleach water poured over it at the end.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 4:56PM
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acer(6b western NC)

eyecndiggit wrote: "I meant they are bad because..."

I think the problem here is your use of the word "bad" to describe my eggs which I've worked really hard, with great anticipation, to produce, and you haven't even seen them. My birds are healthy, their boxes are clean, and their eggs are safe and sanitary. I'll admit that you seem to be knowledgable about producing eggs. But give me a break. I've been looking forward to this for years, I've invested money, I built their house with my own two hands, I've watched them grow up and experienced the excitement of our first egg. I've sold them with great satisfaction and fed them to my family. Now you're telling me that they (or at least the vast majority of them) aren't fit to eat. Simply not so. I don't quite understand. Do you mean that everyone who's ever eaten a duck egg was duped in some way? I can accept that not everyone has the same tastes, and you don't want to eat duck eggs. That's fine, you're entitled to that. But how would you feel if some random person was bad-mouthing your product on a public forum? OK, you say that ducks "have the habit of making them dirty". My eggs are cleaned as much as an egg can be, and they're not that dirty to start with. Please let other folks decide whether or not to buy my product without the negative influence of someone who hasn't even seen them! I'm hardly the only person to sell or eat duck eggs anyway.
Peace, brother (sister?)
Harlequin Creek

I guess this is my intro to the cutthroat world of business...

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 5:53PM
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