Man Explains How to Tell How Long Grocery Store Eggs Have Been in Packaging

Eggs, along with being a classic breakfast staple, are one of the most nourishing foods around! These protein-packed little wonders are cost-effective and so delicious. Most families pride themselves on buying “farm fresh” eggs from the store, but did you know that your eggs are, on average, about 30 DAYS OLD by the time you eat them?

A representative from J&J Acres, a small farm in Toombusa, Mississippi, guides us on the quest for finding the true date of when your store-bought eggs were laid.

Instead of paying attention to the expiration or the ultra-confusing “best by” dates, take a look at the three-digit number printed above it; this is called the Julian code. A Julian code is much more accurate than a “best by” date because it tells the consumer the date in which the food was originally packaged.

As our host surveys his first carton of eggs, he is quick to point out the Julian code. “344—that means that the eggs were put into the package on day 344 on a calendar year.” The “best by” date for that particular package was January 23rd.


Check out the math: when you compare the Julian date to the “best by” date, you will see that these eggs have been sitting in a carton for 41 DAYS! Surprising, huh?

J&J Acres conducted this experiment at several other supermarkets and found the similar results. In fact, the absolute freshest eggs that they were able to find were 9 DAYS OLD!

I was inspired by this experiment, so I went into my own fridge and found a 45-day difference— and I purchased the carton last week!

The main gripe that most people have is that many of these cartons are labeled with the word “fresh.” “These are the eggs that you’re buying that are labeled as being ‘farm fresh’—fresh eggs for you to take home to your family,” our host says.

Even though this process is disappointing to consumers, it is not illegal. According to USDA regulations, “Expiration dates can be no more than 30 days from the day the eggs were packed in the carton.” If the eggs are labeled with a “best by” or “use by” date, then they have 45 days to be sold.

J&J Acres takes the point further by saying that there is no information that they can find on regulations that deal with the life of eggs before packaging. That means that your eggs could be even older than 45 days old by the time you purchase them.

Our host implores the audience to give local eggs a try. “I guarantee you that if you find a local egg producer, a little family farm that’s selling eggs, buying a dozen eggs from them is going to mean the world to them.”

Watch the video below to see just how old most eggs are on the supermarket shelf.

Are you a “farm fresh” egg believer? If so, do you notice a better taste when compared to store bought ones? Let us know all about your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!