Eggs in the fridge


Do eggs belong in the fridge?

Almost more important than the question of the chicken and the egg is the question of whether to refrigerate eggs. And what happens to the male chicks? Let us explain.

Nina Huber

Do eggs need to be stored in the fridge? 

Yes and no. During the first 21 days after laying, the eggs have ­natural protection. This is the time during which the chick would grow and hatch if it were incubated. Cool temperatures could weaken this protective layer, allowing bacteria to penetrate. This is why retailers like Migros sell eggs unrefrigerated, and why you can also store them at room temperature at home. Once the three weeks are up, it’s best to put them in the fridge.

What’s the correct way to store them?

Eggs have porous shells. Other flavours can penetrate through them. This is why you should always store eggs in their packaging or, if you put them in the fridge later, in the egg trays. The tip of the egg should point downwards so that the yolk is in the egg white and not in the air space.  

How long do eggs stay fresh? 

At least 28 days after the laying date. Eggs for consumption­ may be sold up to 21 days after laying, according to the Swiss Foodstuffs Act. For dishes with raw eggs, such as tiramisu, you should use eggs that are no more than 21 days old. In all other dishes, however, you can enjoy them in perfect condition for much longer. If you’re unsure, the float test can help. If the egg sinks in a glass of water, it is still edible. If it floats on top, caution is advised. You can also rely on your nose, as eggs that have gone off smell very unpleasant. 

What happens to the male chicks? 

As is well known, only hens lay eggs – up to 300 per year. This raises the question of what actually happens to the male chicks. Even now, they are still picked out and killed during rearing, because not only are they unable to lay eggs, ­they also produce very little meat. Bio Suisse now wants to change this practice – the killing of male organic chicks will no longer be permitted from the beginning of 2026 onwards. The change will take place in stages. In the broiler rearing process, the brothers of the laying hens are also reared and – in the case of Migros – processed into organic chicken breast.

Do organic chickens have more space?

In the production of organic eggs, the hens live in larger barns and have access to larger pasture­ areas than conventionally reared laying hens. In addition, the brood size is limited to 2,000 hens.

Why do boiled eggs often have a grey ring around the yolk?

The dark ring around the egg yolk is iron sulphide – a compound that can form during and after cooking when iron from the yolk and hydrogen sulphide from the egg white come together; however, the eggs are still safe to eat even if they have this ring.