Free Range Eggs

Blood in Egg

Blood spots occur in up to 6% of brown eggs. Some of those spots disappear over time and the rest are removed during the processing stage. The small number that reach the store shelf are a little bit icky to some, but entirely safe and natural.

By Nellie's Kindness Crew

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Yep...not the most appetizing sight when you're making breakfast. Nobody likes cracking an egg and seeing anything other than a beautiful, richly colored yolk nestled in a clear egg white. But once you learn a little more about blood spots (and all the other fascinating ins and outs of eggs), you might be a little less grossed out by these rare instances.

What are blood spots in eggs?

Contrary to popular belief, blood spots are not the beginnings of a chick embryo. They're simply the remnants of a ruptured blood vessel that occured during the egg's formation. Most often, the ruptured vessel forms a tiny speck or dot of blood with a dark red, brown, or even black hue. Sometimes, larger vessels burst, and this allows blood to pool throughout the entire egg. In these cases, the egg white may have a pink or red tinge. In either case, these blood spots are a natural part of egg laying. In fact, blood spots indicate a particularly fresh egg because as they age, the spot diffuses into the white and becomes undetectable.

What causes blood spots in eggs?

The cause of a blood spot is simply a ruptured blood vessel on the yolk's surface as the egg is forming. This is a natural, benign process for both hen and egg. Instances of blood spots can increase when hens in a flock get excited by changes in lighting, changes in temperature, or simply shifting seasons. So it's okay if it feels a little bit yucky, but know that all is well.

Can I eat an egg with blood in it?

Absolutely – eating an egg that has a blood spot won't hurt you. While you may wish to remove the spot with the tip of a knife and dispose of it, there is nothing in it that's harmful for human consumption.

How can you prevent blood spots in eggs?

Since blood spots are a perfectly natural part of the egg laying process, there is no way to prevent this from happening. However, we do have state-of-the-art processing equipment that helps us detect eggs with imperfections and filter them out before they ever make their way into our packaging—be they slightly cracked, misshapen, or containing other slight imperfections.

In fact, 99% of Nellie's Free Range Eggs reach the store in perfect condition. We find almost everything. But no process is perfect, and there will always be the very occasional feather on an egg, hairline crack, or blood spot that makes its way past the machines' and our keen eyes.

Are blood spots kosher?

Our eggs are certified kosher by the OU, but things get a little tricky on the rare occasion of blood or a blood spot making it into a carton. According to the OU, eggs with blood or blood spots in them are not considered kosher.

Comments

LlndaJuly 26, 2022

Not talking about blood spots but blood. The substance around the egg is reddish brown

Nellie's

HI Linda, yes, this can happen from time to time as well. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions for us.

Vivien LealJuly 07, 2022

Why do nearly all eggs have to be brown anyway? Under the shell they are all the same (except for the blood spots). I have also noticed that ‘scotch eggs’ sold in British food shops never have blood spots, are their manufacturers hogging the white, mainly blood spot free eggs for their product!

Nellie's

Hi Vivien, thanks for reaching out. Not all eggs are white, but the type of hen determines what color the egg will be. We have found that brown laying hens tend to do better in a free range environment because of the swings in temperature they experience, especially in colder regions. Brown eggs can be harder to candle because of the shell color and trying to see through the contrast. If you have any specific questions about your Nellie's eggs, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected]

Lisa quayJuly 06, 2022

I am also getting alot of blood spots in my eggs. Just made eggs for dinner pulled the 18 pack out of fridge and cracked 3. Threw them all away because I am not eating this bloody eggs. I pulled my store bought eggs out and not a single one had an issue. I go through alot of eggs and am having hard time with your eggs.

Nellie's

Hi Lisa, we're sorry to hear about this unfortunate experience with our eggs. Would you be open to telling us more about your experience and letting us look into it for you? We'd love to hear from you at [email protected]!

Vivien LealJune 20, 2022

When I watch US cooking shows I have yet to see a blood spot in eggs, yet when I buy eggs in the UK they are full of them, why? White eggs have far less but are almost impossible to find, why?

Nellie's

We've found through our research that, though most UK eggs are candled for quality assurance, that if they're brown eggs, then blood spots will be more difficult to catch during this process. This is also true of eggs in the US, but many egg companies here only use white eggs, which have far less occurrences of blood spots. The UK also has much different regulations for eggs than the US, which could be a factor in your not finding white eggs over there. Hope this helps!

CinMarch 08, 2022

My new nellies eggs are off the charts bright fluorescent orange!! Europe has nice orange eggs, but these? Dye in the feed maybe? 😳

Nellie's

Hello Cin, we're so sorry for any alarm with some bright yolks. We actually do not put dye in our hens feed, but are happy to look into the issue if you don't mind sending us an email to: [email protected] Thank you!

Todd Nelson February 22, 2022

Thanks for the very helpful information. I also get grossed out when finding blood spots. Although they are okay to eat, I prefer to dispose of them. I crack eggs into a small dish first, inspect them, then add to the pan or dish. I would rather have humanely raised eggs than the mass produced horrid conditions most animals live through.

Nellie's

Hi Todd, we agree that it's not always an appetizing sight! Thank you for your continued support!

Ralph SwireJanuary 16, 2022

Why don't I have blood spots in my Americana eggs. But, have spot in my brown egg layers?

Nellie's

Hi Ralph! We don't have much experience with the Ameracauna breed, but we have tended to see blood spots in eggs from the heavier breeds. It really depends on the breed and other factors of how the hens are being raised. There is a lot of helpful information on this blog that we highly recommend checking out: backyardchickens.com

EricJanuary 04, 2022

I've been eating 4 hard boiled eggs for several years, and went through a phase where I ate nellies. Unfortunately the claim of only 6% having blood spots doesn't align with my experiences. I would estimate it's more like 15-25%. Not only that, it's not just cosmetic - it imparts a beefy, game-y flavor to the egg that I find horrible, and this is why I stopped buying Nellies and similar expensive brand eggs, because they also have similar blood spots. I currently buy Eggland's Best and out of literally thousands of eggs, I have never experienced one blood spot. There is some reason why the expensive brands have more blood spots but I dont know what it is.

Nellie's

Hi Eric, We are sorry to hear that you have been getting more blood spots in your eggs than the average rate. From our experience, cheaper commodity eggs, tend to have less imperfections as the factory-like farms that those hens live on are so human controlled that there is little room for natural imperfections like bloodspots. We stand by our eggs despite their sometimes natural imperfections as our hens unlike other brands are happy and healthy to roam our fields.

Karen McCurdyNovember 18, 2021

I hsve been using your eggs for a few years. I have occasionally encountered blood spots and understand that they occasionally occur. However, today I cracked an egg and found the the egg white was not clear but bloody red. I have to say it was visually disturbing ti me and I tossed out the remaining eggs from the dozen I had purchased. i may not eat eggs again for awhile.

Nellie's

Hi Karen, we're so sorry to hear you had that experience. If you'd be open to emailing us, we'd like to get some more information from you so we could investigate this. Drop us a line at [email protected]

Nancie LaPierJuly 12, 2021

I did not have "blood spots" in your eggs; I had LOTS OF BLOOD, as in completely red egg whites.

Nellie's

We're so sorry to hear you experienced this Nancie. It sounds like you had some bloody eggs which are no doubt unappetizing. We'd love to look into this issue a bit further if you wouldn't mind sending us an email to: [email protected] Thank you!

Heather March 03, 2021

All but one egg in my carton had blood spots in them. I have my own chickens, never have I had blood spots. I won’t be purchasing again. Too expensive to crack an egg and see blood.

Nellie's

Hello Heather. We're very sorry to hear that you experienced so many blood spots in one batch. We'd be glad to look into the issue if you wouldn't mind sending us an email to: [email protected] Thank you!

Patti O'CurranJanuary 11, 2021

I have found with brown eggs in general there is frequently a blood spot. I buy your eggs regularly and find spots pretty frequently. I'm glad to know that it is harmless and not a fertilized egg. Logic told me it likely didn't mean the egg was fertilized but thank you for the reassurance.

Nellie's

We are so glad our article could help eggucate you on your everyday kitchen findings!

Kathrine DayAugust 16, 2020

I cracked an egg today and blood ran out of the egg and then I realized it was dark brown inside and attached to the wall of the shell. Absolutely horrifying. I don’t mind the little red spots but this was full on blood and pretty sure it had been fertilized.

Nellie's

Oh no! We're so sorry to hear this Katherine. While we don't have any roosters with our hens and we don't offer fertilized eggs, we'd love to look into this right away. Could you send us an email with the carton information? Our email is: [email protected] Thanks!

JiyaJanuary 07, 2020

I was very confused and disappointed due to that eggs with blood spots. I always destroy all eggs when i found blood spots. Know i am satisfied to know about these spots that are normal.

Nellie's

Hi Jiya, we're happy we could help!

CarolOctober 05, 2019

I broke and disposed of 6 out of 18 Nellie's eggs due to blood spots. They are very expensive, so I probably won't be purchasing them anymore. Even if they are ok to eat, I just can't.

Nellie's

We're so sorry to hear about this, Carol. If you don't mind sending us an email at [email protected], we'd love to replace this carton for you and collect some information for our quality team.

Mary BeattieMay 25, 2019

I will be buying cage free eggs from now on. Rarely do I find a blood spot in them. Perhaps that is due to the candling process. I would prefer free range, however, I find blood spots unappetizing.

Nellie's

We're so sorry to hear that, Mary. If there's anything we can do to convince you to give our eggs another chance, please don't hesitate to send us an email at [email protected]

Gloria DiGrandiApril 15, 2019

Ok so far I've thrown away 3 "spotted" eggs...ugh I can't eat them. It's hurts that they are expensive eggs. Thanks for the info.just letting you know about this. They are my favorite brand, though.

Nellie's

We're so sorry that you've received some eggs with blood spots recently, Gloria. We appreciate you taking the time to read about the cause of blood in eggs and would love to send you some coupons to use toward your next carton. If this is of interest, please send us an email at [email protected] We appreciate your support!

Craig ClarkApril 08, 2019

Thank you for the information, I always thought it was bad and disposed of one of your eggs. Now I know, I feel secure with your eggs.

Nellie's

You're very welcome, Craig. We're so glad that this information helped put your mind at ease. If you ever have questions or concerns about a particular egg or carton, please don't hesitate to reach out!

Janet HareMarch 21, 2019

Thank you. I often wondered about the blood spots and my Swedish nana always told me it was nothing to worry about.

Nellie's

You're very welcome, Janet! Nana usually knows what's best and this case was no exception!

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