Are Eggs with Blood Spots Safe to Eat?
Nothing is more exciting than raising your own chickens. From the day you bring those tiny chicks home you dream of your first egg. You start thinking of all the recipes that you will make with those eggs, from breakfast to dessert. The wait seems to go on for years…OK not years, about 18 weeks or so.
Finally, the day comes you find that first egg; small but it’s an egg! You run into the house, grab a skillet, and crack that egg open and you find a blood spot in your egg! “What is that!?” Your first thoughts might be “It was that rooster’s fault”, or “What is wrong with my poor hen? I can’t eat that egg!” Here are some facts to put your mind at ease.
What is a Blood Spot?
A blood spot or “meat spot” is simply the result of a ruptured blood vessel on the yolk surface during formation of the egg. To get a little technical, the location of the meat spot can help you generally determine where the rupture took place. A meat spot on the yolk was caused by a rupture in the ovary, and a meat spot in the white part (albumen) of your egg, is caused by the rupture happening in the oviduct.
What Causes the Meat Spot?
There is much debate as to what exactly causes the meat spots. Some factors include genetics, environment, the age of the hen (pullets especially), and dietary issues. Even startling a hen while she is laying can cause the meat spot to happen. Typically it is something as a chicken owner you cannot control. If you notice the spots becoming very large in size, or you notice your hen is having other issues, then you need to look more into your hen’s diet, environment, etc.
Are Blood Spots Really Safe to Eat?
With any poultry products, there is a very slim chance for salmonella. It is always a good idea in general to make sure you are cooking your eggs thoroughly. Check out the article Salmonella and Eggs by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC gives a great breakdown in regards to Salmonella and eggs as well as prevention. Make sure to keep your coop clean and hens happy, and you shouldn’t have much to worry about.
Are You Sure The Egg isn’t Fertile?
If the egg was fertile you would find a blastoderm “bulls-eye” on the yolk of your egg. The bulls-eye will be right on the yolk of your egg, not sitting above the yolk’s surface. The blastoderm and the meat spot will look completely different. No need to blame the rooster!
The “Grocery Store” Eggs Don’t Have Them. Why Not?
Commercially processed eggs go through various steps before the eggs make their way to our kitchens. Most eggs are candled for impurities and if a large meat spot is present the egg won’t make it to an egg carton. As time goes on the yolk absorbs water from the albumen, diluting any meat spots that might have made it through the commercial process. A meat spot is a sign of a very fresh egg!
Overall the meat spot in your egg normally is not something bad. It’s a sign that you might have a young hen, and it is also a sign you have very fresh eggs. If the spot is a bit off-putting, take a spoon, scoop it out, and continue to enjoy your fresh egg! Those eggs are a sign of a job well done!