It's important to get tips on how to protect yourself and your family from food-related illnesses. It's sometimes easy to determine when food in your refrigerator has gone bad. All you usually have to do is check for mold, or for a foul odor.

carton of eggs

Question: How long can you keep eggs in the fridge?

Expert answer: We tell consumers to look to the egg carton dates to judge freshness. A couple of bits of info regarding the sell-by date: The USDA says that the date can be no further ahead than 30 days after the packing date. Your store can choose any day within that 30 days to date the eggs.

If you don't find a date on the carton, using the eggs within three weeks of the carton date should allow them to be used within optimum quality. By "optimum quality," we refer to the fact that the yolk will be high and upstanding, and the white will be tall and firm. As the membrane releases from the shell, the whites spread out, so you want to use fresh eggs for poaching and other recipes where shape is important, and save the older eggs for scrambled eggs and recipes that includes eggs.

Question: How can you tell when eggs have gone bad?

Expert answer: Eggs are one of the few animal foods that you can keep in your fridge and still be optimum quality. Eggs are unlikely to go bad in a refrigerator setting, but would dry up over time. Eggs don't automatically go bad or spoil after date.

If the eggs do not already have salmonella, it will not grow in an egg as it sits in your fridge. If it does contain salmonella, the number of bacteria will be quite small because it does not grow in cold environments, like a refrigerator, and with proper handling, cooking, and otherfood safety measures, the bacteria will be killed.

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