Did you know that the eggs you purchase at the grocery store may be as much as 2 months old when you purchase them? That’s according to Lisa Steele, chicken keeper, owner of the Fresh Eggs Daily website, and author of an article titled “How Old Is the Average Supermarket Egg?” that has been featured on Delish, Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day, and several other sites.

A few weeks ago I mentioned how the average grocery store egg might be 45 days old (or more) by the time you buy it. A...

Posted by Fresh Eggs Daily on Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The article explains that, by law, eggs must be sold within 30 days of being put into a carton. She believes that a farmer has up to 30 days to get fresh eggs into the carton, which means that it’s possible to purchase eggs at the grocery store that are as much as 60 days old. 
This doesn’t mean that the egg is too old to eat — assuming proper refrigeration and no bacteria issues, the egg is fine. It just isn’t as fresh as you might assume it to be. 

Is there a way to tell exactly how old the eggs are? Almost. Steele’s article also explains how to read the labeling on the egg cartons, which will reveal the date that the eggs were put in the carton. Look for a three-digit number between 001 and 365 — this number represents the day of the year that the eggs were put into the carton. For example, the number 046 would represent the 46th day of the year, Feb. 15. Now you know that the eggs were put into the carton on Feb. 15, and must be sold within 30 days. This doesn’t tell you the exact date that the eggs were laid, of course, but it is useful information. 

Another way to examine the freshness of chicken eggs is the “float test.” The video below demonstrates how a fresh egg will lie flat on the bottom of a pan of water, a less fresh egg will stand upright on the bottom, and an old egg — the one you don’t want to eat — will stand upright and then float.