Yesterday I needed six eggs for a sponge cake, so I opened one of the new boxes of “farm-fresh” organic eggs that my husband had purchased on Friday. As I cracked the first egg, a lot of clear liquid came pouring out, and I noticed immediately that the gelatinous part of the egg white was cloudy and excessively thick. It all was pretty disgusting, so I discarded that egg and cracked another one.

The second egg was equally unappetizing… as was the third, the fourth, the fifth, the sixth, and all the other eggs in that first carton. Some of the eggs had oddly flat, pasty yolks. Others had yolks so thick and rubbery, they literally would not come out of the shell. All of the eggs had an amazing amount of clear liquid and cloudy, milky “whites.”

The cake I was trying to make was for a special event, so I really needed the eggs. Unfortunately, the only eggs I had were these just-purchased organic eggs… five dozen of them! I kept cracking eggs and looking for a normal yolk and white. More than four dozen eggs later, I still had not found one. I didn’t crack the last few eggs because by that time there was no way I was going to feed my family eggs from this particular farm.

I was really “grossed out” by the condition of these eggs, so I did some Internet searches for a possible cause, and I was surprised by how readily substandard eggs are accepted as normal. Some people even said that a clear liquid in an egg indicates that the egg is organic and “really, really fresh” (but they are, I think, confusing the clear gelatinous “white,” which is desirable, with a clear liquid, which is not). Up until the last two years, we have always had our own hens and our own eggs, so we have years of firsthand knowledge of what eggs are supposed to look like. Eggs that come from young chickens, from old hens, or are freshly laid, or have been in the refrigerator for a while, were all listed as possible causes for watery whites and rubbery yolks, but this is not normal. There ARE degrees of normal, but if an egg has excessive liquid, or if the gelatinous part is a strange color, or if the yolk is thick and rubbery… even if the egg does not smell bad… there is something wrong with the egg and it should not be eaten… even if the eggs are labeled organic, like these were. These eggs were so abnormal, I am guessing that the entire flock is diseased, or living under stressed conditions, or consistently being fed something that might qualify as organic but is not good for them. Something is seriously wrong. Healthy hens do not lay eggs like that.

These eggs were purchased at a natural food store and came from a small local farm operation. The eggs had supposedly been candled for quality, which is puzzling to me because candling would have quickly shown larger than normal air sacs in all of these eggs… which would have indicated something abnormal right away. The boxes also had the usual organic and USDA labeling and certification. It’s disillusioning to discover once again that labels often don’t offer the protection that they should.