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Most sites that I've googled (such as http://www.ochef.com/1009.htm, and http://whatscookingamerica.net/Q-A/eggs2.htm) say that refrigerated hard-boiled eggs need to be eaten within one week.

I'm a little skeptical, and I know that many are very conservative where eggs are involved.

Can anyone point to an authoritative source that explains why, say 10-day old, refrigerated hard-boiled eggs would be unsafe?

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4 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Yes, they really are unsafe after a week.

According to the USDA (similar information can be found from other food agencies):

Why do hard-cooked eggs spoil faster than fresh eggs?

When shell eggs are hard cooked, the protective coating is washed away, leaving bare the pores in the shell for bacteria to enter and contaminate it. Hard-cooked eggs should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking and used within a week.

Simply put, you're damaging the shell, and that expedites spoilage. Some secondary sources such as StillTasy (who use the agencies as their primary sources) are more liberal and say up to 2 weeks, but I'd at least give it a very thorough sniff test before eating hard-boiled eggs that old. (And note that the sniff test will not necessarily alert you to bacterial contamination, only the more conventional forms of food spoilage like rancidity).

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I'm 75 and I eat hardboiled eggs and have for many years.keep them in fridge for salmon &tuna salad. Never made me sick and I sometimes keep longer than 2 weeks.

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Of course, "unsafe" does not necessarily mean "it will kill you". Riding a bike on major roads without a helmet is unsafe, but many people do it their entire lives without incident. 1 week is simply the difference between "practically no risk" and "some risk". –  Aaronut Apr 23 '11 at 19:41
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My mom was a home ec teacher and always told us that once eggs had been refrigerated (like are commonly sold in the US) they needed to stay refrigerated. I do wonder why, though, as kids, we boiled and dyed Easter Eggs on Saturday, put them in the fridge overnight, then Sunday afternoon hid them, found them, and repeated the "hunt" several times all afternoon before we finally sat down and ate some of them. The rest were shelled and made into egg salad or chicken salad. We never got sick!

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I ate a hard boiled egg that had been in my fridge a week. I had stomach cramping and was running to the bathroom (repeatedly) a couple hours after eating. Won't be doing that again.

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Fun story, but certainly not an answer to my question. :) –  Eric Wilson Dec 6 '13 at 0:21
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