Egg Quality, Handling, and Safety

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
What is a good egg? An intact, uncontaminated egg with a strong shell; a firm yolk and yolk membrane, which prevents the yolk from breaking and mixing with the white; and a high proportion of cohesive, jellylike thick white compared to runny thin white.
And what makes a good egg? Above all, a good hen: a hen of a select laying breed that is healthy and not approaching the end of a laying year, when shells and whites deteriorate (this stage is shortened by restricting the hen’s food, which induces her to molt and reset her biological clock). A nutritious feed, free of contaminants, and without ingredients (fish meal, raw soy meal) that impart off-flavors. And careful evaluation and handling once the egg leaves the hen.