Variables that are known of the organic and/or free range:

  1. I don't believe the eggs with blood are just protein spots even though brown eggs through observation usually do contain more protein spots than the white egg variety.

  2. While the majority of organic and/or free range are brown and are harder to candle; That alone does not explain why a majority should have blood in them.

  3. These eggs typically have a deep red/black red that are in the yolk. Sometimes in other areas (if I am recalling correctly)

According to this source: http://www.torah.org/advanced/weekly-halacha/5761/kedoshim.html

The majority of eggs, however, do not contain blood. Accordingly, one is not required to inspect an egg to see if there is blood in it, since we can assume that this egg is like the majority of eggs, which are blood-free(3).

As variable 3 above, whenever I have bought kosher certified organic or free range eggs almost every single egg had a blood spot (pretty sure they were always A grade). I called up the OU last year and they said it was because the hen is still kosher.


In the times of the Gemorah,3 blood appeared in eggs because of two reasons: 1. The egg had been fertilized and a chicken embryo was being produced. 2. An irregularity in the hen causes a small amount of blood to be deposited in the egg. In the United States, the government requires that Grade A and Grade AA eggs be checked for blood spots, through a procedure called candling. During the candling, the eggs are held before a light in a dark room allowing any blood spots to be easily detected. Accordingly, the chance of finding a blood spot is rare.4

According to the quote there should be an irregularity in the hen which causes the blood. But if that is indeed so why is it usually found in the organic and/or free range egg variety?

I think OU is a wonderful organization but still I'm not satisfied with the answer I got in this situation. I still stay away from organic or free range eggs because it's just wasting money when I have to throw most out.

I believe they want the ultimate burden of checking to fall to the consumer still. As that was the impression I got when I called the OU(although I could be mistaken). But if the majority have blood what is the point of certifying them when the consumer usually has to discard the majority of eggs or for Jews less educated in Halacha "sin" by eating them?

To clarify what I am asking:

Why do the majority of organic and/or free range eggs contain blood? Is it from an irregularity in the bird or dare I say fertilization? If all the above is true why are these eggs still certified Kosher?

To say because the hen is kosher seems like a cop out.

P.S. I should probably mention it's probably not just OU. I would guess it may be any kosher certified egg in this situation, although I only recall just buying OU certified eggs.

  • 5
    Are your free range organic eggs brown? Those are much harder to candle (source: my mother worked on a chicken farm in the 50s). Farmers I've spoken to say that the easiest-to-care-for-without-hormones chicken variety lays brown eggs, so that's why organic free-range eggs are often brown. Dec 22 '14 at 3:24
  • 1
    It would be more helpful and conducive to getting an answer you appreciate to put all the information you have into the body of your question and reasons why you don't agree with any of it. Instead of having people waste their time trying to help you and only be met with a response of 'I knew that already'.
    – user6591
    Dec 22 '14 at 15:35
  • 1
    @msh210 Life is busy. Answers deserve thought and some real research. Dec 22 '14 at 18:16
  • 1
    @code613 you seem to mainly be asking "why do organic eggs have this property?", which is not on-topic for us. (That would be a question for Biology, probably.) You also ask, tucked into a paragraph late in the question, "how can these be kosher given that this is so common?", which is on-topic for us. Could you please edit to focus it more on the on-topic question? Feel free to include the other background, but the question needs to ultimately be about kashrut, not chicken biology. Thanks. Dec 22 '14 at 20:07
  • 1
    My main intention is Kashrut. I agree, I was all over the place in the initial post. Hopefully the update is good enough now? The biology question I asked was meant to deal with kashrut issue as well. It would be Biblically un-kosher vs Rabbincally unkosher if the eggs were fertilized vs an irregular hen blood spot. I did not clarify that reasoning in mind and went off in tangents. Sorry for the confusion.
    – code613
    Dec 22 '14 at 21:27

As observed in the comments -- egg farmers "candle" an egg by shining a bright light through it to check for blood spots. This works better with white eggs, which are more translucent than brown ones. So if you buy a dozen white eggs at the store, it's more likely they caught the blood spots at the factory and they didn't make it to the shelf.

In short -- have you controlled for egg color?

  • I'm aware of the brown egg-inspection dilemma. That however does not address the main dilemma. I am addressing as to why there is blood in the "MAJORITY" of eggs. Just because the eggs are brown and more difficult to inspect shouldn't mean the majority of the eggs have blood in them. According to the Gemorah, It means something is wrong with the hen or they are fertilized.
    – code613
    Dec 22 '14 at 13:38
  • 1
    @code613 Depending on how free the hens are, and if there's a rooster around, the eggs may, in fact, be fertilized. Dec 22 '14 at 15:33

Here it says

About 25-30% of brown eggs, irrespective of brand, typically have what are referred to as pigment or protein spots next to the yolk or floating in the albumen. If you look very closely at white eggs, you will see that they have similar particles of protein floating around, but the hens lack the brown pigment in their system that combines with the protein to make them stand out.

A Ruv also told me that even by fertilized eggs it is considered blood only if it is "black" or "red" (brown is ok)

  • I am fully aware of protein spots as well. I'm fairly certain it is blood. Try buying a pack of organic or free range eggs and you'll see it's a majority of eggs that have a spec of blood. The brown eggs will also contain more protein spots in them as compared to the white eggs. Brown spots are milder and more substance-like but not sharp red specs like you would find even on the occasional white egg variety. I may have even read that site you cited before. I now buy egglands AA white eggs. Have also tried their brown ones. Their 1/1000 stat for brown eggs containing blood is laughable to me.
    – code613
    Dec 22 '14 at 15:29
  • Also, I believe it only counts if it's on the yolk or the little tail that hangs form the yolk, not floating in the albumin Dec 22 '14 at 15:30

The OU has an article addressing spots found in eggs. Of note, it says:

Today, however, the only concerns are maris ayin or dam beitzim (a small amount of blood from a broken blood vessel in the hen, which is not forbidden). As a result, the entire egg is never assur and mei’ikar hadin removal of the blood spot would suffice ... Rav Moshe, however, writes that it is a proper practice to dispose of the entire egg even today, as eggs are not expensive and a person does not incur any significant loss.

And more significantly:

By far the most common blemishes found, these are formed by a microscopic “seed” of foreign matter that enters the egg during the early stages of development. Though found in both brown and white eggs, they are more prevalent in brown.

o Generally, these look like thick clear jelly in the egg white and may be any size. If the “seed” speck is visible, it looks like a reddish brown piece of dirt at the center of the spot.

o When appearing on the egg yolk, one generally only sees the “seed” speck.

Whether in the white or yolk, these blemishes present no halachic concerns and the eggs may be consumed without further action.

It is quite possible that this what you are seeing, not real blood spots (see the article for how a true blood spot looks). It would also be worth re-contacting the OU and finding out if their certification means you don't have to check the eggs. I know another certification that certifies raw eggs and what they are ensuring is that there are no roosters on the farm (which is the common practice anyway). The certification doesn't really change anything with regards to checking eggs.


I'm sorry I don't have sources at the moment. But I've read in the past that different breeds of chickens lay different kinds of eggs (ie, brown vs. white), and that those that lay brown eggs are significantly more likely to lay eggs with spots.

I'm not sure if this is true, but it seems that smaller eggs (medium or large instead of etra large) are somewhat less likely to have spots.

Relatedly, I know someone who buys organic brown eggs, which often have spots, so he asked his Orthodox rabbi (who works in kashrus) whether he can simply remove the spot rather than discarding the egg. The rabbi said that was OK. I haven't been able to find anything online approving of this practice, but perhaps it is a valid leniency.

  • Rav Moshe Feinstein has a Teshuva about it. If the egg isn't fertalized, blood spots can be isolated and removed (however, he notes the practice to be strict and to just throw the whole egg out since a single egg is not considered a significant loss). However, if the egg is fertalized, the whole egg isn't Kosher and taking out the blood spot is not enough. In the OP case, I would expect the OU is ensuring that there are no roosters around, but that would have to be confirmed with them.
    – Yishai
    Dec 22 '14 at 15:07

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .