Eggs are designed by nature to be a compact, balanced, nutritious, healthy ready packaged product. As such they are an excellent food for all ages.
Class “A” eggs
Under U.K. & E.U. Rules only Class “A” eggs are allowed for retail sale. A Class “A” egg must have the following properties:
- A clean Smooth undamaged shell.
- An air space no bigger than 6 millimetres.
- A clear white, gelatinous and free from meat and blood spots.
- A centrally suspended yolk.
- No nasty odour.
- Be clean but washing in water is not permitted.
- Must NOT contain an embryo.
Egg sizes are standardised throughout the E.U. and are in 10g weight bands:
- Very Large or XL: Over 73g
- Large or L: 73g – 63g
- Medium or M: 63g – 53g
- Small or S: Under 53g
By weight an egg is approximately:
Eggs slowly deteriorate through storage hence the statutory E.U. limit of Best Before 28 days from date of lay.
“Lion” code eggs have a lower limit of 21 days from date of pack and no more than 4 days from pack to lay giving a maximum life of 24 – 25 days.
Usually eggs reach retail stores within 2 – 3 days of being laid.
As an egg ages it loses moisture through the shell by evaporation and the white becomes slightly runnier due to proteins denaturing within the egg.
This aging can be slowed keeping egg quality better and safer, by storage in fridges or cool larders, it is not recommended to keep eggs in the kitchen, in direct sunlight in egg baskets etc.
Eggs should preferably be stored in their pack in the fridge but regardless of this should be placed vertically point end down (with the air cell to the top) and kept away from strong smells such as fish, onion, garlic etc as the shell is porous and can absorb such strong smells which can cause taints.
All our eggs are free range which means that the eggs must comply with E.U. Regulations for Free Range Eggs. Full regulations can be found on DEFRA website (www.DEFRA.gov.uk) but a concise synopsis is that they:
- Must have daylight access to the outdoors.
- Stocked no more than 2,500 birds per hectare (we stock at 1,000/ha as a maximum).
- Ranging area must be mainly covered by vegetation.
Eggs are an excellent source of protein, minerals and essential vitamins and can make significant contributions to healthy diets.
Eggs are an excellent source of protein for humans as the egg contains all the essential amino acids required by humans.
Egg protein is found in both yolk and white (albumen).
One egg can contain 12 – 15% of the daily protein requirement for an average person. It is of such high standard it is often used as a reference food with which to compare other foods.
With only trace levels of carbohydrate and sugar available an egg will contribute only 3 – 4% (76 k/calories) to the daily diet and no dietary fibre.
Eggs are a good source of all B vitamins and also with significant levels of vitamin A & D and some vitamin E. Only vitamin C is absent from the egg.
Eggs are an excellent source of minerals, in particular Iodine and Phosphorus required for Thyroid and bone health, but also Zinc, Calcium Selenium and Iron.
Approximately 10% of the egg contents are fat and this fat is almost entirely contained within the yolk. The good news is that only 3% is saturated fat.
Recent advances in chicken’s nutrition mean that levels of healthy Omega 3 fatty acids can be increased within the egg to give eggs healthy to heart and brain.
Whilst eggs were once regarded as unhealthy and having cholesterol levels at an unhealthy level it is now recognised that in fact this is untrue and eggs are a healthy contributor to a balanced diet.
Detailed Nutritional Breakdown
Source Royal Society of Chemistry/MAFF 1991, The Composition of foods (5th Edition).
These figures are for a medium egg of approximately 58gm fresh weight.
Nutritional analysis without shell
Energy 316/76 kjoules/k cal
Inc Sat Fatty acids 1.6g
Monounsaturated F.a. 2.4g
Dietary Fibre none
Minerals and Trace Elements
Vitamin A 98mg
Vitamin D 0.9mg
Vitamin E 0.57mg
Vitamin C none
Thiamine B1 0.05mg
Riboflavin B2 0.24mg
Vitamin B6 0.06mg
Vitamin B12 1.3mg
Pantothenic Acid 0.91mg