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Arizona: Bill to extend expiration date on eggs from 24 to 45 days

Staff Writer |
Standards for egg freshness, including the meaning of the expiration date printed on egg cartons, could change if legislation underway in Phoenix becomes law.

More than three decades after requiring that eggs be sold within 24 days after being laid, state lawmakers are moving to loosen those restrictions to a full six weeks, Chino Valley Review reports.

Legislation offered by Rep. Jill Norgaard, R-Phoenix, would amend existing law to say the “sell by” date could be 45 days after an egg is “candled” and still be called AA eggs, the highest standard. That’s longer than the U.S. Department of Agriculture permits for eggs with the agency’s label.

But eggs sold without that USDA blessing are governed by the laws of the state. And that’s what Norgaard wants to change.

The impetus comes from the Arizona Retailers Association, the folks who market the eggs directly to consumers. Lobbyist for the association, Michelle Ahlmer, said there’s no reason to remove the eggs from store refrigerator shelves after 24 days and dump them.

But even Ahlmer conceded that a 45-day shelf life for eggs may be hard for consumers and lawmakers to swallow. She said the retailers will offer to scale that period back when HB 2464 goes to the House Commerce Committee.

The question is: when are eggs too old to be safely sold to consumers?

Ahlmer says most states already allow anywhere from 30 to 45 days after being packaged. And, she said, while older eggs may not be quite as fresh — perhaps the yolk doesn’t stand up as tall in the middle of the white - there’s nothing inherently wrong with them.

But Glenn Hickman, owner of the egg ranch that bears his family name, said it’s not that simple.

He said testing done by state agricultural officials when the dating law was first enacted in 1984 showed that eggs met the AA standard of firmness of the yolk and the egg white through 24 days. By Day 25, he said, one or more out of a dozen eggs did not.

That same test, he said, was repeated three decades later, and “the results were exactly the same.”

The whole story here.

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