Are Eggs with Blood Spots Safe to Eat? Here's What Food Safety Experts Say
What is the single best way to perk up your go-to avocado toast recipe, add protein *and* a condiment all at once to a sandwich or salad or take a pizza on a trip from dinner to brunch territory? Put an egg on it, of course!
But what's a yolk-loving home cook to do when you're all set to prepare your egg-boosted meal and you spy a red spot on your egg? While it can feel like a "red alert" to toss it—remember Mom's old rule of "when in doubt, throw it out?"—it's not actually a food safety faux pas to forge ahead. Here's what you need to know.
What Causes Blood Spots in Eggs?
Blood spots, sometimes called meat spots, are droplets of blood that are found on the surface of about 1% of egg yolks sold commercially, according to the Egg Farmers of Canada, While rare and considered a defect by egg producers, blood spots sometimes naturally form as hens lay eggs. Just as our blood vessels sometimes rupture and repair themselves, so can a hen's. When that ruptured blood vessel occurs within a hen's ovaries or oviduct, the tube that carries said egg from the ovary to the external world, a bit of blood can land on the egg yolk (more common) or within the white (quite uncommon). Contrary to popular belief, this does not mean that the egg is fertilized, the Egg Farmers of Canada confirm.
If you buy eggs at a supermarket, chances are you'll come across eggs with blood spots very infrequently. Manufacturers "candle" commercially sold eggs—which involves shining a bright light to try to spot any imperfections—and can often detect and remove eggs with blood spots before they're packaged and sold. If you purchase eggs directly from a farmer or get them from your own backyard chicken coop, you might come across blood spots slightly more often, and if you buy brown or other colored eggs at the store, you could notice more blood spots because they're harder to spot through darker shells than white ones.
So Is It Safe to Eat an Egg with Blood Spots?
The United States Department of Agriculture and the Egg Safety Center agree that eggs with blood spots are safe to eat if you cook the eggs properly. Whether they have blood spots or not, steer clear of consuming undercooked or raw eggs, which can increase your risk for a salmonella infection. Toss any eggs with whites that appear tinted pink, green or red; this is a sign they may contain bacteria that can speed up spoilage and may put you at risk for food poisoning.
The Bottom Line
As long as you can get over the aesthetic differences, you should be safe to simply mix the blood spot in with the rest of the egg as you cook it. Or, if you prefer, use a knife to scrape the blood spot off the yolk before you get cracking on meal prep.