Cracking eggs is a pretty regular occurrence for everyone, daily for some. We use eggs in many things, from breakfast tacos to baking blondie brownies.
Normally, we just crack the egg and then toss the shells into the trash. But sometimes, we get lazy and stick them back into the carton, either to wait there till we’re done with our cooking or till the carton of eggs are finished so we can toss it all away at once.
As it turns out, when we do that, we’re committing a horrible food safety mistake. According to some research, we should never be storing our empty eggshells along with our fresh eggs. And here is why.
While it might seem more efficient to return the empty shells into the carton for later composting rather than stopping the cooking rhythm to drip used egg whites across the kitchen to the garbage or compost bin, it’s actually a health hazard.
Cross-contamination is what we are constantly being told about while cooking. That is why we should never wash raw chicken or cut up fresh veggies on the same cutting board that had raw chicken on it. It’s also why you shouldn’t eat raw cookie dough because even the freshest eggs can be contaminated. And that is why you also shouldn’t return the used eggshells to the carton, because it poses a risk of cross-contamination to the fresh eggs.
As the Egg Safety Center states, storing fresh eggs together with eggshells “greatly increases the risk of bacteria transfer by hands, utensils, air, etc.” This is particularly important if you plan on sneaking a little taste from the batter bowl.
Plus, it’s not a good idea to reuse old cartons in order to store fresh eggs for the same reason. Instead, you should compost the empty cartons right away, and make sure all cracked eggshells go straight into the trash or compost.