Why You Shouldn't Put Eggshells Back Into The Carton

The alarm sounds, and you know it's time to crack some eggs. While the coffee brews, you use two eggs to ace a perfect French omelet. Or, if you're craving something sweet, you grab an egg for your go-to fluffy pancake recipe. You might even pack an egg salad sandwich for a light lunch and ponder which cake to make over the weekend using — yup — eggs.

Clearly, eggs are a can't-miss ingredient in your kitchen, so the half- and full-dozen cartons come and go. There's a chance you are one of those people who finds it easier to put empty eggshells back into the carton with the fresh eggs, either because you don't want egg whites to drip on your counter, or you'd simply rather discard all the empty shells together in a few days. If that's the case, unfortunately, you're harming your food and yourself more than you think. That's right: Don't put your empty eggshells back into the carton.

Eggshells combined with fresh eggs can cause cross-contamination

There are bacteria in basically everything you touch in your kitchen, including eggshells, according to the Egg Safety Center. So, for your safety, professionals recommend against putting eggshells back into a carton of whole eggs, as this makes it easy for bacteria to transfer to eggs and other foods and surfaces — an example of cross-contamination. Additionally, as The Kitchn reports, you should avoid reusing old cartons to store new eggs because they contain bacteria. Despite your good intentions to reuse your perfectly good cartons, you're better off discarding or composting them immediately. 

However, you still shouldn't throw out your eggshells. Instead, you can compost them for healthy soil, combine them into a homemade cleaning solution, and use them for other clever (and sustainable) tricks. You can even use the leftover cartons as a fire starter for grilling! Whatever you do, don't store empty eggshells with new eggs, don't put the eggshells back in the carton, and don't reuse cartons to store eggs. Sticking to this advice can help prevent foodborne illness. It's as important as washing your hands before cooking, storing ingredients properly, and cleaning your food prep area constantly, all for the sake of our health and our kitchens!