This Secret Code On Your Egg Carton Explains A Lot (Photos)

A secret code on your egg carton could tell you much more about the freshness of the eggs you buy than the "best by" date.

Fresh Eggs Daily explained the code in an article on its website that went viral, saying that the three-digit code gives the day of the year that the egg carton you're buying was filled.

The number is between 1 and 365, and tells you how long before you bought it the eggs were packaged.

If you buy a carton of eggs on Jan. 19 that has "355" written on it, that means that the carton was packaged 10 days before the last day of the year, so the carton and its contents are at least 29 days old.

"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 few people asked for proof (beyond the LAW which states that a farmer has 30 days to carton and egg and then another 30 days to sell that egg after it's been cartoned)," the site wrote in a follow-up Facebook post.

"So today (1/19) I was shopping and snapped a few photos of some egg cartons. EVERY date I saw on them was between 352-355, meaning that those eggs were put in that carton on the 352nd-355th day of last year. Add to that the 19 days so far this year, and these eggs have all been in the carton for about a month (and could have been laid up to 30 days prior to that) and check out the Sell by dates -- these eggs can still sit on the shelf for a few more weeks."

"Just be aware of the food you're buying. Know how to read labels. And keep raising those backyard chickens! I'll take a 45 MINUTE old egg from a happy hen any day over a 45 DAY old egg!"

As the site explained, older eggs are completely safe to eat, but they won't be nearly as fresh as newer ones.

Eggs that aren't as fresh will have less firm yolk and whites that are more runny -- but they are still edible and are still safe to eat.

Always look at the code on the egg carton to know just how fresh the eggs are before buying them, and try to buy the freshest eggs possible for maximum taste.

Sources: Fresh Eggs Daily, Fresh Eggs Daily/Facebook / Featured Image: lscha1/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Fresh Eggs Daily