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Why do we refrigerate eggs and milk while other countries don’t?

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Story written by: Alix Martichoux

You don’t need to be a germaphobe or a hypochondriac to know it’s best to put your eggs and dairy in the fridge. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says you should be storing both milk and eggs in the fridge at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.

You probably didn’t need the federal government to tell you that, though. It’s just common knowledge.

But that’s not always the case abroad. It’s typical in European grocery stores to see eggs outside refrigerated cases, sitting at room temperature. Milk and other dairy products can also be found sitting on store shelves.

Why aren’t their eggs and milk going bad? And why aren’t people getting sick when they eat them?

But while washing off the bad stuff, we actually leave the eggs more vulnerable. Egg shells may not look porous, but they are. The warm bath strips eggs of their natural protective coating, leaving them more vulnerable to bacteria, like salmonella, getting inside.

To prevent problems with bacteria, we refrigerate our eggs after they are processed.

But outside the U.S., most countries leave that protective cuticle intact. They also employ other methods to ward against salmonella, like vaccinating hens and packing and selling eggs near where they are laid. Shortening the supply chain gets fresher eggs to consumers, explains Business Insider, so there are fewer concerns about them going bad.

American and European milk makers both pasteurize milk before selling it to consumers, but in Europe, the standard is UHT pasteurization, or ultra-high temperature pasteurization. That involves heating raw milk up to around 280 degrees Fahrenheit for a few seconds, killing all bacteria, according to Brittanica.

In the U.S., we typically heat the raw milk to a temperature around 160 degrees for 15 seconds. That’s enough to kill dangerous bacteria like salmonella and E. coli. But because some bacteria may survive the pasteurization, it can cause the milk to spoil if it isn’t refrigerated.

Shelf-stable milk is also sometimes available in the U.S. You may have seen single-serving milk boxes for children sitting on store shelves. Those also got the UHT treatment, and are safe to store in your pantry for longer periods of time.

Article sourced from News Nation.

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