Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are brown eggs more nutritious than white eggs?
A: The color of the egg’s shell is determined by the breed of the hen. Since many consumers prefer white eggs producers most often raise White Leghorn hens, which produce eggs with white shells. Consumers who live in the New England area often prefer brown shelled eggs, so egg producers there raise breeds such as the Rhode Island Red which produces brown shell eggs. The color of the shell has nothing to do with egg quality, flavor, or nutritional value, only the breed of hen laying the eggs. However, brown shell eggs are usually slightly higher in price than white eggs because the brown shell producing hens are larger birds and require more feed for the eggs produced.
Q: Is it safe to eat raw eggs?
A: Public health authorities and the egg industry continue to warn against consuming raw eggs or lightly cooked eggs. The egg might be contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) a bacterium that can cause food borne illness. Eggs and some other animal products have a small possibility of containing SE. The risk of food borne illness is greatest for those who are pregnant, elderly, very young, or who have medical problems resulting in an impaired immune system. These individuals should avoid any raw and undercooked animal foods. Everyone needs to remember that while there is a small risk of contacting SE, consumers need to treat eggs and other raw animal foods safely. It is not recommended that anyone eat raw eggs. SE is killed by proper cooking temperatures and it is recommended that eggs be cooked until both the yolk and the whites are firm, not runny.
Q: Where are the vitamins and minerals located in the egg?
A: The yolk or yellow portion of the egg contains a higher proportion of the egg’s vitamins and minerals than the white. Please refer to the chart (right) for the list of nutrients contained in one egg.
Q: What are organic and free-range eggs and do they differ nutritionally?
A: Organic eggs are eggs produced by hens fed “organic” feeds grown without pesticides, chemical or commercial fertilizers. In addition, there are no pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides added to the feed. There are no known nutritional differences between organic eggs and regular eggs. Free-range eggs are produced by hens raised outdoors or with daily access to the outdoors. The hens are free to run around, but in the event of bad weather the hens are kept inside. True free-range eggs are only available on a seasonal basis in the United States. The term free-range can also refer to eggs produced by hens raised inside on an open floor rather than in cages. Free range eggs do not differ from regular eggs in terms of nutritional value or cholesterol level; however, they are more expensive due to production costs.
Nutrient Content of One Large Egg
Whole, Raw, Fresh
Total Fat (g)
Saturated Fat (g)
Trans Fat (g)
Vitamin A (IU)
Vitamin D (mg)
Vitamin B6 (mg)
Vitamin C (mg)
Vitamin B12 (mcg)
Lutein & Zeaxanthin (mcg)
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2007. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release #20. Nutrient Data Laboratory (www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp) USDA Database for the Choline Content of Common Foods Differences in nutrient levels between egg white, egg yolk and whole egg are due to sampling procedure
*Sadler, Strain and Caballero (1999) Encyclopedia of Human Nutrition. San Diego, Academic Press