Shell eggs are highly perishable products. Shelf life of high-quality products is about 2 weeks if stored in a cool, dark place and about 1 month if refrigerated. When eggs age, chemical and physical changes occur. Moisture and CO2 escape through the porous shell, and the pH increases and changes from acidic to alkaline. The air cell expands in size and the albumen becomes flat and watery, and less desired flavor and odors may develop. If left for a long period of time, the egg contents could dry up, especially at high storage temperatures. Under certain circumstances, the egg will rot. In order to extend shelf life and preserve quality, several methods of preservation were developed by the 19th century. This article chronicles preservation methods and development of currently available industrial egg products.

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