Contrary to what you may have heard or believe, white eggs are not bleached, no.
Certain breeds of chickens lay white eggs naturally.
Just as other breeds lay brown eggs, olive-colored eggs, and some other colors you may or may not have seen.
It’s important to know that white eggs are no different from brown eggs nutritionally, it’s just the color of the eggshell that differs.
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Are White Eggs Natural or Bleached?
White eggs are natural, they’re not bleached to make them white.
This comes as a surprise to some as brown eggs are by far the most popular color egg, and is also the color egg we commonly see portrayed on TV, in media, etc.
Different breeds of chickens lay different colored eggs.
White are rarer than brown, and there is a misconception that they’re different - but white eggs are no different from brown eggs (apart from the shell color, of course).
Some of the breeds of chicken that lay white eggs are; Polish, White Leghorn, California White, Andalusian, and Ancona to name just a few!
Are Eggs Cleaned Before Being Sold?
In the US, eggs are cleaned before being packaged. But cleaning eggs does not change the color of the shell.
What cleaning eggs does do is remove the natural protective coating on an eggshell, called the bloom.
This is a natural protective coating that helps protect eggs from bacteria. In most EU countries eggs are not washed, instead, the bloom coating is left on the egg.
This is why most eggs are kept on supermarket shelves and not refrigerated in Europe. In the US, however, eggs are thoroughly washed before packaging.
This removes the bloom, and as a result, eggs need to be refrigerated and kept at a certain temperature to keep bacteria at bay.
The bloom is transparent though, it cannot be seen or felt. This makes no difference to the color of an egg at all.
Are White or Brown Eggs Organic?
I’ve heard people saying that white eggs are organic, some say that brown eggs are organic…it’s not the color of the eggshell that determines if an egg is organic.
It’s how the chicken that laid the egg was fed that determines whether or not the egg is organic - irrespective of the color.
For an egg to be organic, the hen that laid it has to have been fed only organic feed.
The USDA has a standard that has to be met for an egg carton to display a “National Organic Program” label.
This standard is clearly defined on the USDA website as:
Eggs marked with the USDA’s National Organic Program label come from uncaged hens that are free to roam in their houses and have access to the outdoors. The hens are fed an organic diet of feed produced without conventional pesticides or fertilizers.
So, if you see the organic label on an egg carton, you can be sure the hens that laid those eggs are living a good life and laying tasty, organic eggs.
Why Are Brown Eggs More Popular Than White?
Brown eggs are more common or popular than white for one simple reason - cost.
The poultry and egg farming industry is such that it’s much less expensive to produce brown eggs than it is white.
If you look in your local supermarket, I’m sure you’ll see some white eggs for sale but they’ll be priced higher than brown eggs.
There is also the fact that as consumers, we’re used to seeing brown chicken eggs. Any other color raising questions - such as whether or not white eggs are bleached.
So, the answer as to why we see brown eggs more commonly than white is due to a combination of psychological reasons, and the fact that it’s less expensive to produce brown eggs.
Let’s not forget that the egg-laying hens in the US produce around 96.9 billion eggs per year.
That’s a lot of eggs!
The industry is well-refined. Like most industries, the bulk of it is designed to be as profitable as possible so brown eggs are going to stay.
Related - Here's where white eggs come from!
Are White Eggs Bleached in USA?
White eggs are not bleached in the USA, no. Some breeds of chickens lay white eggs naturally. If you see white eggs for sale in a supermarket, they’ve been laid by a white egg-laying breed.
Why Are Eggs Dyed White?
Eggs are not dyed white. I’m sure it’s possible, but if we’re talking about eggs for sale for human consumption, if they’re white they’ve been laid by a chicken that lays white eggs.
Are Brown Eggs Healthier Than White Eggs?
Brown eggs are not healthier than white eggs, no. Neither are white eggs healthier than brown eggs. There is no difference in the nutritional value of an egg based on the color of the shell.
White eggs may be a lot less common than brown eggs, but they’re laid in the same way - just from different breeds of chickens.
White eggs are not bleached to make them white, and they are not different from brown eggs nutritionally.
Remember, it’s the conditions a laying hen is kept in and what they eat that affect the taste and quality of an egg, whatever the color.
Image credits - Photo by Alice Pasqual on Unsplash