Can you eat fertilized eggs?

In this brief guide, we’ll address the query: “Can you eat fertilized eggs?” Also, we’ll explore how fertilized eggs can be eaten, what it means for an egg to be fertilized, and what’s the process behind egg farming. 

Can you eat fertilized eggs? 

Yes, users can eat fertilized eggs. Contrary to what many people believe, the fact that an egg has been fertilized does not necessarily mean that there is a chick growing within. 

It’s likely that our readers have encountered a fertilized egg within a carton of eggs purchased from a farmer’s market or a local grower, and consumed it without a hitch. 

For there to be an embryo growing within, eggs must be incubated at certain temperatures for prolonged periods. As often, eggs are collected from hens merely hours after they’ve been laid, and then stored in cool conditions. 

This means there is very little chance of a chick developing within a fertilized egg that has been processed for distribution.

As a result, the egg remains edible and is often consumed. 

In instances when users crack an egg and find a baby chick in development, this is due to poor handling practices and substandard procedures in place. 

Professional, certified egg production requires strict handling protocols, supervision, and hygiene practices, which, when instilled, have an extremely low chance of enabling the distribution of sub quality eggs. 

How are fertilized eggs prevented from the market?

Fertilized eggs that have made it to market can be eaten, as they were subjected to quality testing before they were packaged. 

In certified egg farms, hens are stringently segregated from roosters, who will then have very little chance of mating and fertilizing their eggs. 

However, in the unlikely event that there may have been coupling, eggs are tested by “candling.” This consists in shining a light through the egg’s shell and is a technique farmers and processing plants use to verify that there is no growth occurring within the egg. 

Eggs that show signs of developing growth are discarded and taken out of the line of production, further reducing the likelihood of users encountering them in their purchases.

Eggs that are fertilized but show no signs of growth may be kept in the line of production, and due to storage and handling conditions, there will be no growth or development within the egg. 

For a chick to hatch from an egg, the latter must be incubated in balmy temperatures, of about 29°C for several hours. 

Commercialized eggs are stored at lower temperatures, inhibiting cell growth and development. 

When cracked, users may identify fertilized eggs due to the presence of the blastoderm (a white shape on the yolk that resembles a bullseye), though its growth will have been hindered. 

These eggs can be cooked without a hitch, or be incorporated into recipes. 

What does it mean when an egg is fertilized? 

When an egg is fertilized, it means that a rooster’s sperm cell has joined with an egg. Despite the implication, unless the egg is incubated at a constant temperature, it will not result in a chick hatching. 

It’s important to note that hens are capable of storing a rooster’s sperm for up to two weeks, in compartments located in the ducts of her egg canal. During these two weeks, her eggs will remain fertile and can be covered when laid. 

However, embryos will not either grow or develop, until the appropriate environmental conditions are met. 

What’s the process behind egg farming? 

Egg farming differs from poultry farming, as the latter forcibly requires breeding efforts, and both hens and roosters.  

Egg farming can be done with only the former, and by supplying them with a balanced diet that is rich in protein, fat, calcium, and other essential nutrients and minerals.

Eggs can be farmed for subsistence or at an industrial level, and depending on the egg farmer’s monetary resources, facilities can be constructed. 

These can vary from modest hen houses designed to protect hens from predators and the elements to state-of-the-art lodgings that are complete with adjustable and digitized environmental settings. 

The latter type of farm is subject to strict regulation and hygienic dispositions, as the large populations of hens that are handled may pose a risk for zoonotic disease

Employees in industrial-level egg farms are required to follow strict hygiene protocols, such as wearing special work attire, and prior to their work shifts, they must wash in antiseptic baths to limit the entry of potentially dangerous microbes and parasites. 

When harvested, eggs from industrial-level farms are carefully vetted and can either be packaged or discarded, depending on their quality and whether or not they meet the industry standards. 

Conclusion 

In this brief guide, we’ve addressed the query: “Can you eat fertilized eggs?” Also, we’ve explored how fertilized eggs can be eaten, what it means for an egg to be fertilized, and what’s the process behind egg farming. 

References 

https://www.cfsph.iastate.edu/Assets/zoonotic-diseases-of-poultry-table.pdf

https://www.food-safety.com/articles/6992-egg-production-clean-from-the-start-success-at-the-finish

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