We’ve all been there. We crack open an egg and see a suspicious-looking speck in it. Sometimes it’s just a tiny little brown spot. Other times it can be a larger one.
Many of us are concerned about whether such eggs are safe to consume. Eggs with bloody spots are yucky, but are they risky?
This article explains everything you need to know about blood spots in eggs and whether they are fit for consumption.
What are blood spots in eggs?
Despite what many people believe, blood spots don’t indicate that an egg has been fertilized. In other words, those spots will not develop into chicken embryos.
According to the USDA, these spots are simply tiny specks of blood typically found in the yolk.
What causes blood spots in eggs?
When an egg is released from the hen’s ovary, it breaks through a membrane containing blood vessels. Sometimes, small blood vessels rupture during the egg formation and end up in the egg, mainly in the yolk.
There is another type of spot typically found in egg whites called meat spots. Unlike the former type, meat spots are deposits of tissue during egg formation and appear like brown, red, or white deposits. (*)
In short, both blood and meat spots can be considered a natural part of the egg laying process.
Is an egg with blood spots safe to eat?
The appearance of eggs doesn’t always indicate their safety. Rest assured that those with blood and meat spots are perfectly safe to eat unless other spoilage signs are found.
To determine whether an egg is bad or spoiled, check for:
- unpleasant, sulfuric smell
- dark specks in egg white or yolk
- and discoloration of albumen (egg white)
Those are typical indications that an egg is already spoiled by harmful bacteria. In addition to that, discard any eggs with cracked shells. They are likely contaminated anyway. (*)
By now, we agree that eggs with blood spots are considered safe to eat. So, what should you do if you find one?
Well, if it doesn’t disgust you, go ahead and cook it. You can scrape off those spots and continue cooking them as usual. If you’re feeling lazy or undisturbed by those irregularities, leave them and continue cooking.
Regardless of having bloody spots or not, eggs are commonly contaminated by harmful bacteria, mainly Salmonella, even though they look clean and uncracked. Therefore, it is crucial to cook eggs thoroughly, primarily if you serve them to your kids, pregnant women, and older people.
If you’d like to make recipes where eggs are partially cooked or uncooked, consider using pasteurized eggs.
How common are eggs with blood spots?
Although blood spots don’t necessarily indicate eggs are unsafe, they are considered defects and should not be sold to consumers.
Manufacturers are required to perform rigorous quality control procedures to ensure only eggs that conform to the quality standard are packed and transported for sale.
Before leaving the manufacturers, all eggs are carefully inspected through a process called ‘candling’ to detect cracked shells and other interior abnormalities, including blood spots.
On rare occasions, imperfect eggs make their way into the cartons. According to the USDA, the odds of finding those with blood spots are very slim, at less than 1% of all commercial production.
How do you test an egg for blood spots?
If you want to check for blood spots from your backyard chicken eggs, you can try manual candling. In a darkened room, hold an egg directly in front of a bright light source and see through the shell. Candling is also a standard method to check the egg’s fertility if you want to incubate it.
Are eggs with blood spots kosher?
According to the OU, eggs with blood spots are not kosher if collected from fertilized eggs, a common production method in the past. Today’s commercial eggs are not fertilized, and thus blood spots are not halachically prohibited. Nonetheless, the best practice is to discard eggs with such defects. Always crack them open to check for blood spots before cooking.
What happens if you eat a bad egg?
Eggs may be contaminated by harmful bacteria such as Salmonella, which can cause food poisoning. Common symptoms include fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps. These symptoms may appear 6 hours to 6 days after eating contaminated food. Contact your doctor if you experience severe symptoms. (*)
Eggs with blood spots are considered an irregularity as well as a natural occurrence. Although they are uncommon, sometimes we can find one or two in our supply. They are perfectly safe to eat unless you find other spoilage symptoms. Scrape off those spots and continue cooking as usual.
Suppose you collect eggs from your backyard chickens. You can try a candling method to detect these spots and other imperfections inside them.
*image by DenisMArt/depositphotos