There are two types of people in the world: those who keep their eggs in the fridge and those who think room temperature is best. According to the British Egg Information Service, the only place to keep food cool and avoid temperature fluctuations is the fridge. This view is backed by two experts at Bristol University’s School of Veterinary Science, Dr Rosamund Baird and Dr Janet Corry, who say that if an egg is contaminated with the bacteria salmonella, storing it at room temperature allows the salmonella to multiply. Other U.S. scientists are even more cautious. The highly respected Mayo Clinic recommends you throw away eggs if they have been left out of the fridge for more than two hours. Utter nonsense, say the ‘warm eggers’, who insist that refrigerating eggs is not only futile in terms of safety, but also ruins their flavour and causes baking disasters because a cold egg does not bind with other ingredients. Tim Hayward, who presents the Food Programme on BBC Radio 4 and is a restaurant columnist for the Financial Times, says: ‘A fresh, free-range egg should last beautifully at room temperature for at least a week. ‘The racks in the fridge door are the worst place to store eggs. The constant shaking thins the whites and the flavours of other foods can penetrate the shell.’
FoodTest provides the food and drink industry with government-approved laboratory analysis to ensure the safety, quality and legality of their products. The company kept two batches of eggs for a fortnight, one at room temperature, the other at a typical fridge temperature of 6c. Samples from both batches were regularly tested for nasties such as E.coli, the superbug staphylococcus aureus, salmonella, listeria and campylobacter. The results, taken at the start point of the test, at the end of the first week and at the end of the second week, were all the same. There was no difference whatsoever between the two batches. Both remained bacteria-free. The results of our admittedly small-scale but show it seems perfectly OK to keep your Lion-branded eggs outside the fridge.