AIBU to throw out eggs past their sell-by date?

(73 Posts)
emess Sun 05-May-13 13:20:57

They were 5-6 weeks past their sell-by date. They belonged to PIL. MIL is unwell and housebound after a fall (and hospital stay) and has no appetite. FIL is doing his best but neither of them have eaten much for weeks. I am cooking for them when I can. We visit multiple times per day plus MIL now has carers coming in night and morning. Their ages are 85 & 89. I said it was for safety but he's annoyed with me for 'wasting' food. I'm normally happy to eat stuff that's past it's date, but eggs? For an elderly couple not in the best of health? I replaced them with fresh ones, by the way, before I threw them out so it's not like I left them with nothing to eat.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 05-May-13 13:22:45

Yanbu. But I expect they are of the generation that has limited awareness about how old food items ( especially eggs) are by the time they get to the shop shelves

1-2 weeks and I would have said YABU.

But 5-6. YANBU.

Rugbycomet Sun 05-May-13 13:28:20

I am very wary of using eggs past their sell be date. OH was very very ill after eating an egg past its sell by date. Having said that, it could have just been the bad egg in a box!!!

I eat eggs a fair bit past sell by but that would be too long for me.

For future - you can test them by putting them in water.. If they float, they are off.

burberryqueen Sun 05-May-13 13:30:13

I am sure you did the right thing, better to waste a box of old eggs than take risks with people of that age.

emess Sun 05-May-13 13:30:44

Socket - yes, spot on. Cue row between them about whose fault it was they they were that old (MIL unable to get to kitchen for last 6 weeks!). Thank goodness eggs have the date on them nowadays, even if it was almost illegible. Otherwise I would not have been sure myself. They were so old even I didn't want to eat them!

cozietoesie Sun 05-May-13 13:33:50

Older people can sometimes be a bit reluctant to throw food out - thinking that younger people are obsessed with sell by dates and wasting money. In some instances, I think they're probably right (with many cheeses for instance) but those eggs were too old and you were entirely reasonable.

Next time, sneak the discards out without telling them and put them in your own rubbish and not theirs so that they don't notice.

My mum would use those eggs by cracking them one at a time into a cup and sniffing them - you can tell very quickly that way if an egg is off.

To be honest, I think we are a bit too hung up on use-by dates, and I will employ the look and sniff test on food before throwing it away - but then I grew up in the days before use-by dates, when that is what you did.

ghosteditor Sun 05-May-13 13:40:41

I've used eggs older than that - so on that basis YABU. But in content even grotty old me agrees that it's safer to bin them grin

I do the water test too! statisticallychallenged smile

georgedawes Sun 05-May-13 13:43:53

Yeah just see if they float, if they do they've gone off. That far past their date they probably had.

cozietoesie Sun 05-May-13 13:47:20

I think part of the issue is that there's nothing to say (if there's not much cooking being done) that the eggs may not have been there for another five or six weeks. Eggs tend just to sit there and when you're thinking of something easy to slip down an invalid's throat you grab a couple - and they might be very aged indeed by that time.

The OP would probably be advised, as she's going in a lot, to swap eggs regularly and use the discards herself as they were approaching use by. Just to be safe.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 05-May-13 13:47:50

Eggs that float are more than off they have been off for ages they are actually rotten.

Eggs that balence on there small tip and stand up so to speak in the water are

I've just had 2 fried that were 4 weeks past sell by, I just did the water test.

Svrider Sun 05-May-13 13:50:39

They are been ridiculous
Cost of replacement eggs £2.50 at most!
Expiry dates are there for a reason
Do you think they need more support in decision making?

cozietoesie Sun 05-May-13 13:52:31

At their ages, Svrider, they'd likely have come through rationing. The fact of the small expense is neither here nor there - it's not a rational reaction.

hackmum Sun 05-May-13 13:53:22

YANBU - you had their best interests at heart.

Having said that, if eggs are rotten, you can tell when you break them open. (I've never had a rotten egg.) The other risk is salmonella, but a) all hens in the UK are now vaccinated against salmonella and b) salmonella is destroyed by cooking. So I'm not actually sure what the risk of an out-of-date egg is.

NynaevesSister Sun 05-May-13 13:54:36

I do water test too and is fine. If they leave the bottom just a bit they are on way out so do it in a glass bowl.

But in this context I would have chucked and replaced with new who knows how long they would have kept them?

VinegarDrinker Sun 05-May-13 13:59:39

I don't go by dates, just crack them into a cup and smell them. Were they in the fridge or at room temperature?

AuntieStella Sun 05-May-13 14:03:17

I use eggs past their dates. But I think 5 weeks is too far over.

My dad is a demon for not wasting food (and AFAIK he's only had food poisoning once from turkey back in the early 1970s)

My mum will eat biscuits a year Out of Date.

But even they wouldn't eat 5 week eggs.

cozietoesie Sun 05-May-13 14:10:51

Most people would simply get through eggs so the use by wouldn't be an issue. I think the problem here is the illness and lack of appetite/cooking. That's what the OP has to make allowance for.

Nelly000 Sun 05-May-13 14:36:09

Eggs have 'best before' not 'use by' dates. I'd eat eggs 5 weeks past their date but would sniff carefully and would be more likely to use in baking i.e. cooked thoroughly than boiled eggs (which we like 'dippy')

KobayashiMaru Sun 05-May-13 15:10:14

eggs have a much longer life than the dates stamped on them. If an egg is bad enough to make you sick, it will stink the place out as soon as you crack it.

Maggie111 Sun 05-May-13 15:14:38

Yanbu - but apologise and sneak out and replace any OOD food from now on.

Svrider Sun 05-May-13 16:18:31

Cozie I agree their reaction isn't rational
I also think eating out of date eggs is v, different to out of date crisps/ biscuits
Good luck with it all op

TheChaoGoesMu Sun 05-May-13 16:58:08

I've eaten eggs that far past the date. But I always do the float test and go by that, rather than the date stamped on the box.

Lweji Sun 05-May-13 17:22:31

If they are kept in the fridge they last a long time.

You could have taken them home and replaced them if you were that worried.

CasperGutman Sun 05-May-13 17:23:11

YANBU to not want your elderly loved ones to eat eggs a month and a half past their best before dates.

You would be unreasonable to throw anything away just because it had passed its sell by date, though. Unless you're a shop.

You may think this is just pedantry, but I'm sure tonnes of food gets wasted every year because people confuse sell by, best before and use by dates.

Another one that does the float test.

DH does a spin test on the countertop.

Oldraver Sun 05-May-13 17:41:45

After having a couple of off eggs at Christmas we always float test them

LaGuardia Sun 05-May-13 18:21:44

Since being very unwell after unwittingly eating an out of date egg, mine go straight in the bin a day after the 'use by' date.

emess Mon 06-May-13 16:00:40

Thanks all for the perspective. Maybe I could have taken them home, tested them and used them if OK, but with all that's going on just now I just CBA. For the record, at home we often eat stuff that's well past its BB date, with no ill effects. (But I have the constitution of a horse - official). It was the combo of possibly dodgy eggs and elderly rellie in poor health that made me do it.

trinity0097 Mon 06-May-13 16:06:28

Yanbu, I just threw out a couple from a big box that were a week out of date. I would rather waste something like that that could make people really ill than risk it, especially as I was about to bake a cake for hubby to take to work tomorrow!

HollyBerryBush Mon 06-May-13 16:08:26

I have an abhorrence of wasted food.

The way I see it, eggs don't come out of a hens backside with a dates stamp on grin. If you store eggs correctly, they keep for years ages. Small container with "water glass" in it, submerge the eggs. Rotten ones will float and you can pick them out.

Sometimes when you live in the arse end of beyond, have no supermarkets and hens stop laying over winter it's the only way to ensure a fresh supply.

AmberLeaf Mon 06-May-13 16:18:43

Eggs that float are more than off they have been off for ages they are actually rotten

That isn't even slightly true.

Eggs float when they are older, this is because the porous shell and membrane seperate more the older they get which gives a pocket of air which makes them float.

So floating eggs are not off, they are just older.

You couldn't eat an off egg, the smell as soon as it is cracked would more than put you off.

Ive had one off egg in my lifetime and it was in date.

YABU OP, a few weeks is nothing!

But that said, you are looking after your PsIL so you have their best interests at heart.

AmberLeaf Mon 06-May-13 16:20:49

Anyone who finds an egg that float, go and crack it into a bowl, you will see there is nothing wrong with it.

Rotten eggs smell like bad fish.

Nelly000 Mon 06-May-13 16:23:38

In this case, elderly relatives, the OP wasn't being unreasonable.

But I can't understand people throwing eggs out when they're past their best before date.

Good website on how long you can keep things safely here.

3-5 wks out of date is ok if kept in the fridge.

Oh, and what AmberLeaf said.

Nelly000 Mon 06-May-13 16:25:21

Correction.. Keep for 3-5 wks is ok, not necessarily 3-5 wks past all by date although you could buy them on their sell by date so it's kind of the same thing IMO

cozietoesie Mon 06-May-13 16:26:28

Good website, Nelly. Thanks.

Nelly000 Mon 06-May-13 16:28:41

It's my bible, cozietoesie, especially for leftovers. smile

prettybird Mon 06-May-13 16:31:16

You can tell if an egg is off, so in that respect YABU. The date on egg boxes is a "Best Before" date, not a "Use by"

As others have said, the "floating test" is just a reflection of an egg shell's porosity, not whether it has gone off.

If you were worried, you could have made them something that involved cooking the eggs (eg a cake) rather than, say, a boiled egg.

I think the "youth" of today wink have got paranoid about dates and have lost the ability to judge for themselves. The nose is excellent judge of whether food has gone off. grin

(As an aside, I am now refusing to buy my 12 year old ds Muller Corners any more - or any yoghurt for that matter - since he got sniffy about eating one that had gone two days beyond its date 'cos he had eaten them out of order - and the yoghurt had "split" slightly)

cozietoesie Mon 06-May-13 16:31:34

I learned by being brought up by my Mum but nice to have it all in one place.


IneedAsockamnesty Mon 06-May-13 16:39:20


It is true it means the egg has to much air in it and that's what makes eggs bad.

Eggs have a tiny air pocket inside when just laid they will stay on their side at the bottom of a bowl of water, as time passes the air bubble gets bigger this causes them to alter position by moving to a more upright position.

An egg that stand on its smallest tip up right is off an egg that floats is rotten even if it has not yet formed the smell shop eggs have so many drugs in them that the smell can be inhibited quite a lot but I still wouldn't want to eat one.

AmberLeaf Mon 06-May-13 16:48:23

Sock. sorry but that's wrong!

An off egg is an off egg. No mistaking and I eat home laid eggs often enough to know that the same float rules/freshness/smell apply wherever they come from.

If an egg is off, it will stink, if it doesn't stink, it isn't off.

When an egg is off, the yolk breaks down and goes runny, you couldn't eat that if you tried to regardless of any drugs shop bought ones have in them.

AmberLeaf Mon 06-May-13 16:51:32

The only rotten egg Ive ever had was fresh and in date.

AmberLeaf Mon 06-May-13 16:52:27

By fresh, I mean freshly bought.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 06-May-13 16:53:14

Would you eat a black one because it didnt smell?

AmberLeaf Mon 06-May-13 17:09:43

Black eggs usually do smell though.

Ive never had a black egg, but I understand that it is a problem with home kept chickens sometimes, they are laid like that. Nothing to do with them 'going off'

prettybird Mon 06-May-13 17:17:50

The only black egg I have every had was also "in" date - and stank once it was cracked open.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 06-May-13 20:15:07

I'm talking about supermarket eggs ones that have been fed on sulphur reducing feed.

Trill Mon 06-May-13 20:16:12

If an egg is rotten you will know when you crack it.

minniemagoo Mon 06-May-13 20:21:39

Definately the best decision to not let elderly rellies eat them, no point in taking any risks at their age.
On the other hand, don't just dump them, bury them at roots of plants, they decompose and are a fab waste smile

AmberLeaf Mon 06-May-13 20:31:52

Sock you said eggs that float are rotten, that is not true and I posted explaining why.

Not sure where you're going with this all really.

aderynlas Mon 06-May-13 20:36:19

flowers op, for being so kind hope your dmil gets well soon.

Talkinpeace Mon 06-May-13 20:36:38

WATER test every time :
old eggs make the best meringues
elderly eggs make excellent fritata
medium eggs are great scrambled or in cakes
fresh eggs are needed for frying and poaching

the egg I found in a flower pot that the fox had hidden : THAT was rank !

sarahtigh Mon 06-May-13 21:10:17

sock unfortunately you are just wrong, unless you have no sense of smell whatsoever you can tell a rotten egg if out of date slightly just break eggs into bowl and sniff one by one

i would not give a very young child or the vulnerable an egg 5 weeks past date but there is no need for inaccurate scare tactics

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 06-May-13 23:43:54

So its a scare tactic to say that a egg that stands up right on its small tip is not fresh at all.

And a egg that totally floats should not be eaten even if it does not smell?

How very dramatic.

Not one person on this thread who has talked about using the floating egg test has said a floating egg is a sign of a perfectly good egg that's why people use that test, if it floats bin it.

AmberLeaf Mon 06-May-13 23:50:46

No you resorted to scare tactics when your previous 'eggs that float are totally rotten' post was disproved.

Even now you are still staying floating eggs are no good, which is bollocks.

Is it that hard to admit you were wrong? personal preference is one thing, but to carry on stating that floating eggs are bad is a bit silly really.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 06-May-13 23:55:33

It was not disproved you just disagree with me.

Eggs that float should not be eaten. If eggs that float are perfectly fine to eat then why do people bother with the float test at all.

Surely smell alone would be enough.

AmberLeaf Tue 07-May-13 00:06:17

It was disproved! I disagree with you because you are wrong

There is nothing wrong [ie bad ] about floating eggs.

People 'bother with' the float test, to see how old eggs are, not to see if they are bad, cracking one open will tell you if it is bad or not. Also lots of people do the float test under the wrong impression this will show if they are bad or not. You can get bad eggs that don't float too.

Yes, smell alone is enough, that's why sensible people crack eggs they are unsure about into a bowl first rather than straight into flour or whatever. Read talkinpeaces post.

If you would rather only eat the freshest of eggs that's fine, but that is just your personal preference.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 07-May-13 00:22:21

How on earth does the air pocket get bigger with out the shell cracking because they do not expand, what do you think has happened to the actual egg inside to allow more air to fit in.

Its a decomposing process.

You eat as many eggs that float on the top of water as you want I'm perfectly content not to when I know that egg is from a supermarket.

AmberLeaf Tue 07-May-13 01:12:48

How on earth does the air pocket get bigger with out the shell cracking

Because the shell is porous.

So you would eat an egg that floated that wasn't from a supermarket? if so then you must have finally accepted that floating egg does not = bad egg.

aurynne Tue 07-May-13 02:12:57

I actually use the "shake" test. If you shake an egg and you can feel the yolk moving inside (as in hitting the sides), that egg is so old that the proteins which keep the yolk in the centre have started to denaturalize.

I have eaten eggs which floated in water and were perfectly ok.

But I am a nerdy scientist myself :P

prettybird Tue 07-May-13 08:25:51

I can remember when dates weren't stamped on individual eggs, so you had to use your own judgement (and use things like the float test to work out relative freshness) as to whether eggs were fresh enough to use or not.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 07-May-13 09:58:24

As I have said several times I am talking about supermarket eggs,I have even said its due to the feed and chemicals used in them.

Most none supermarket eggs would not have these things used so the smell test would be fine.

AmberLeaf Tue 07-May-13 10:37:25

No you said that eggs that float are off.

Even non supermarket eggs will float after a certain time.

Floating bares no relation to their offness wherever they were bought.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 07-May-13 11:37:26

No I did not. In my post done at about 8 yesterday I clearly stated I was talking about supermarket eggs.

And in my very first post I even mentioned them perhaps being of a generation that had limited understanding of the supermarket process.

AmberLeaf Tue 07-May-13 13:06:28

You said eggs

Give it up sock, seriously.

somedayma Tue 07-May-13 14:02:24

sock and Amber this is hilarious. you're both making arses of yourselves. who cares what some stranger on the Internet thinks of your egg freshness opinions?! :D

AmberLeaf Tue 07-May-13 14:17:20

I'm not making an arse of myself thanks very much! and yes I agree it is hilarious!

I have seen some rows on Mumsnet with posters refusing to back down even though they are clearly wrong, but never about eggs grin

BTW my posts are not opinion

Socks posts are and as I have said already, she is entitled to them.

I have seen sock around loads on Mumsnet and I generally respect her opinions, so I must say, this thread has been a tad bizarre!

I have eggsplained several times, I dont eggactly know what else I can say? My brain is scrambled confused

everlong Tue 07-May-13 14:19:14

I'm a wuss wear out if date food is concerned.

I wouldn't eat eggs over 3 days passed their sell by date.

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