Industrial farming practices in the U.S. are one of my pet peeves, from an environmental and health standpoint, as well as my “foodie” sensibilities.
Freshly laid, unfertilized farm eggs actually keep best unwashed until they are cracked, & will keep at room temperature for weeks. An egg, even unfertilized, is alive, exchanging air through the shell & living off yolk nutrients. Think about it, they are designed to be living incubators for a chick. They will slowly dehydrate & lose quality, but they will live and remain edible for a long time. (How do they tell if an egg is unfertilized?)
Americans – Why do you keep refrigerating your eggs? nicely summarizes the interesting & little-advertised facts about how American industrial farming practice requires us to scrub, chlorine wash, & refrigerate eggs at 40F, if to reduce the risk of Salmonellosis and other infections. In Europe, less industrialized farming practices & vaccination of poultry against Salmonella has dramatically reduced this problem. Washing eggs is illegal, & they are kept at 70F to reduce condensation that might promote bacteria. Kept dry at this temperature, the coating on the egg from laying protects them from dehydration & bacterial entry for a long time on store shelves.
Unfortunately, in the U.S. even backyard flocks have been contaminated with Salmonella & are usually unvaccinated, so the risk is not so low. I keep my farm eggs unwashed but refrigerated to retard bacteria (wash before use, of course). I love eggs from pasture-raised chickens & ducks; they’re richly flavored & higher in omega-3 fatty acids & antioxidants from their naturally “buggy” diets. Discard any egg if it’s slimy, discolored, has an odor (it shouldn’t at all), or has new powdery spots on it.