Freshness, Quality & Safety

Nutrition & Health

Economics of Egg Production

How can I tell if the egg is fresh?

An egg is considered fresh when the egg yolk is firm and not broken, the egg white is thick and surrounds the egg yolk. In contrast, an egg that is not fresh will have its egg yolk appear flat and while its egg white is watery.

One simple way to test freshness is to place an egg in the water. Generally, if the egg floats, then it is already stale. If it sinks, then it is considered fresh. As the egg gets older, the size of the air sac or air cell within the egg increases causing it to float. Scientifically, we can test the freshness by measuring egg white (albumin) using an apparatus which measures the ‘Haugh Unit’.

Where should eggs be stored?

Eggs should be stored in a cool and dry place. To maintain its freshness, eggs should be stored in the fridge.

Why aren’t eggs kept in a fridge in supermarkets?

For optimum freshness and food safety, eggs should be kept at a constant temperature below 20°C. Most modern supermarkets are kept below 20°C so it is not necessary for retailers to store them in a fridge. This also prevents significant temperature fluctuations (for example: eggs being moved from a fridge to a hot car after purchase)

How long can I store the eggs at room temperature? How long can I store them in the fridge?

At room temperature, eggs can remain fresh for up to 14 days. In the fridge, it can remain fresh for up to 30 days. For optimum freshness, it is recommended that we store eggs in the fridge immediately after purchase from the supermarkets.

Can eggs be frozen?

Eggs in their shells should not be frozen.

Sometimes, I see a red spot in the egg yolk. What is it? Is it safe?

This is likely to be what is called a ‘blood spot’, which comes from a ruptured blood vessel in the hen’s ovary. A blood spot may appear in a young hen’s first few eggs, and in eggs of very old hen. The egg is safe to eat.

What is the brown spot I sometimes see in the yolk?

This is likely to be a ‘meat spot’, which is caused by tiny pieces of reproductive tissue being caught in the production of an egg. It is rare and the egg is safe to eat.

Are there any eggs with double yolk?

Yes, but it is very rare. Eggs containing two yolks tend to come from young hens whose hormone system has not yet fully developed. They are safe to eat.

When I prepare hard-boiled eggs, I sometimes see egg white on the outer shell. Why?

If you put a fridge-cold egg immediately into boiling water, the shell may crack, as it expands too quickly in the heat, and you will lose some of the egg white before it sets. It is recommended that you take the eggs from the fridge about 30 minutes before preparing.

Why is it sometimes difficult to remove the eggshell of hard-boiled eggs?

If it is difficult to remove the shell of a hard-boiled egg, it means the egg is very freshly laid.

How can I avoid a dark ring around the yolk of hard-boiled eggs?

Once fully boiled, remove the eggs from the water immediately and immerse them in cold water to cool them as quickly as possible before shelling.

How can I tell if my eggs have spoiled?

The faster you use your eggs, the less time any potential bacteria will multiply and cause spoilage. When properly handled and stored, eggs rarely spoil. Instead, as an egg ages, the white becomes thinner, the yolk becomes flatter, and the yolk membrane weakens. Although these changes may affect appearance, they don’t indicate spoilage and don’t have any great effect on the nutritional quality of the egg.

But, like all natural organic matters, eggs can eventually spoil. Always store eggs in a fridge and use them before the expiry date. Discard any eggs with shells that are colored, dry, powdery, or moldy.

How are eggs size graded?

Eggs are graded according to the following measurements:

A (65-70gm) ; B (60-65gm) ; C (55-60gm) ; D (50-55gm)

Can we wash the eggs and then keep them in the fridge?

No, it is not recommended unless they will be consumed fast within 1-2 days. Once washed, eggs will lose their protective coat and will deteriorate fast in freshness and quality.

How good and nutritious are eggs?

Eggs are one of the most nutritious, complete and affordable food. Eggs contain high quality protein – highly nutritious for growing children and pregnant women, for body builders to build muscle strength and for elderly adults to prevent muscle loss. Eggs also have over 10 vitamins and minerals – vitamin A, B, D, E for growing children, plus folate and choline which are particularly beneficial to support fetal growth in pregnant women.

How many calories are there in an egg?

There are about 80 calories in a large egg.

Why are some eggshells brown and some white? Is there any nutritional difference?

The colour of the eggshell is dependent on the breed of the hen. In general, white hens produce white eggs and brown hens produce brown eggs. Many years ago, white eggs were popular in Malaysia, but currently almost 100% chicken eggs here are brown shelled due to the preference of consumers. There is no nutritional difference between white and brown shelled eggs.

Why are some egg yolks less yellow than others? Why are some egg yolks more orange in colour?

The colour of the egg yolk is dependent on the level of carotenoids in the feed that the hen eats. Yellow corn and corn gluten, which are the main ingredients in poultry feed, have a substantial amount of carotenoids, giving the egg yolk its yellow colour.

In the supermarkets, branded Omega eggs generally have orange egg yolk to differentiate them from normal eggs. Hens that produce Omega eggs are given feed added with ingredients like pappricca (red chili) which have extra reddish carotenoids to produce orange egg yolk. A more common vegetable with carotenoids is carrot. Carotenoids are precursors to Vitamin A. They are beneficial for the health of our eyes.

Note 1:
QL Omega eggs have orange egg yolk. Our hens are fed with feed supplemented with pappricca to produce the orange egg yolk. QL Omega eggs are produced from all-natural feed, with no synthetic colour.

Note 2:
Synthetic colour (eg. Sudan 1 colour dye) are very harmful to our health. As a reputable and responsible corporate citizen, it is in QL’s ethical practice to ensure that QL Eggs are produced without the use of any synthetic colour.

I am diagnosed with high cholesterol levels, is it safe for me to eat eggs on a daily basis?

The level of cholesterol in a person is determined by the sum of cholesterol intake and the amount manufactured by the body. It is safe to eat eggs on a daily basis as long as there is a reduction in the intake of other foods containing cholesterol and lipids.

Should I restrict the number of eggs I eat?

No, for most people there is no need to restrict eggs. In fact, it is recommended that we eat more eggs for their high-quality protein and for their vitamins and minerals. Some people have reservations about eating eggs due to their cholesterol content. However, there are recent students that indicate that instead of dietary cholesterol, eating too much saturated fat is more harmful to our health. Eggs are very low in saturated fat.

Where is cholesterol found, in egg yolk or egg white? Is it HDL or LDL cholesterol?

Cholesterol is present in egg yolk. The term HDL (high density lipoprotein) and LDL (low density lipoprotein) refer to the mechanism of transporting cholesterol in the blood circulatory system. HDL transports cholesterol to the liver for elimination (therefore known as the good cholesterol). LDL transports cholesterol to the other parts of the body (therefore known as the bad cholesterol). There is no reference to good or bad cholesterol in eggs.

Please consult your physician for more detailed information on your recommended dietary consumption.

What are the main ingredients in feed for hens?

Yellow corn, corn gluten, soyabean meal, wheat, limestone (needed for eggshell formation), vitamin and mineral supplements.

QL Eggs are produced from hens fed with all natural ingredients as listed above, supplemented with lactobacillus probiotic feed supplement to ensure healthy hens and eggs.

How can I know if the eggs I bought are free from antibiotics?

There is no way to tell except through a laboratory test. Therefore, always ensure that the eggs you buy come from a reputable producer.

What is the estimated egg production in Malaysia? What about export and per capita consumption?

Malaysia produces about 24 million eggs a day. About 15% (~3.6 million) are exported mainly to Singapore.

Per capita consumption is about 280 eggs per annum.

Can hens lay eggs without their male?

Yes, hens will lay eggs with or without their male. In breeding operations, hens and their male are reared together to produce fertilized eggs for hatching into chicks. But in commercial egg layer operation, only hens are reared to produce eggs.

When will a hen start to lay eggs?

A hen will start to lay eggs between 16-18 weeks of age. In commercial egg layer operations, we consider 18 weeks of age as the first week of egg laying for hens.

How many eggs can a hen lay a day?

Once a day. Generally, a hen will lay one egg every 24-26 hours.

How long can a hen continue to lay eggs in a commercial layer farm?

Commercially, hens are reared to about 75-80 weeks of age. Economic factors to consider are the % of eggs production and the egg price as compared to cost of production.

What are the major breeds of laying hen in Malaysia?

Hisex is the most popular breed with about 50% market share. Other breeds are Lohmann, H&N, ISA, Novogen.