Fridge or cupboard, how do you store your eggs?
Fridge or cupboard, how do you store your eggs? Brenda Strong

Fridge or cupboard? Debbie starts debate over egg storage

FRIDGE or cupboard?

When it comes to egg storage, Australians are apparently either fervently in one corner or the other - and never the twain shall meet.

In the wake of Cyclone Debbie, Queensland's health department unwittingly sparked the polarising debate, when, during ongoing power outages in the state's north, it offered advice on the lifespan of unrefrigerated food.

The advice to throw eggs out after just four hours without electricity was met with immediate incredulity.

One person commented: "Why are there eggs there? Ours do fine in the cupboard without power," which gathered 42 likes from people who apparently do the same and a string of responses.

"Who the hell keeps eggs in the cupboard? Bet you keep sauce in the fridge too," came one reply.

"I learnt - from a Jaimie (sic) Oliver food course - that it's absolutely OK to keep them out and it's better for cooking to be room temp (sic)," came another view.

And so it continued thus.

It prompted a Queensland Health intervention to settle the debate once and for all.

Or did they?

In a blog post addressing the health risks associated with unrefrigerated eggs, the health authority said they should be stored below what many would regard as room temperature.

"Like all food products, eggs should be stored in accordance with the manufacturer's directions," it said.

"You'll find these instructions printed on the egg carton.

"Most egg producers in Australia recommend that eggs are stored below 15C."

Which, for some parts of the country means room temperature and in other parts means in the fridge.

In other words, everybody's right - and long may the debate rage on.

The original Queensland Health warning came as raw eggs remain one of the most frequent sources of salmonella outbreaks.

The official health department advice contains some surprising pointers to prevent being infected with salmonella, a bacteria that elicits a severe form of gastroenteritis that can be deadly in children, the elderly and pregnant women.

"Never wash an egg, as this might actually help salmonella transfer inside. Always throw away eggs with cracked or dirty shells, both of which increase the risk of salmonella infection," it said.