For those starting the study of kashrut (Jewish dietary laws), the status of eggs is almost always one of the first issues encountered. Since an egg comes from a chicken (or other kosher bird) which is considered meat, does an egg also have the status of meat?

The simple answer is that eggs are pareve (neither meat nor dairy). This is because Jewish law actually distinguishes between fully-formed eggs and eggs that are still connected by veins to the animal. The former are pareve, the latter are “meat” because they are seen as an extension of the chicken’s body. Today, however, since chickens are kept entirely separate from roosters, it is extremely rare that one encounter a “meaty egg.” 

The pareve/meat status is not the only kashrut question related to eggs. Blood spots are also an issue to consider. “If there was found on it a spot of blood, the blood must be thrown away and the rest [of the egg] may be eaten…Dashai, the father of Aptoriki, taught ‘this rule applies only if [the spot of blood] was found on the white, but if found on the yolk, the whole egg is forbidden” (Talmud Chullin 64b).

Because most eggs today come from hen houses and are thus unfertilized, blood spots are also quite rare.* And while most rabbis agree that a blood spot can simply be removed, it is, nevertheless, customary before use, to crack each egg into a clear container to check for blood spots. Additionally, when a blood spot is found, most consumers discard the entire egg.

In the case of boiled eggs, it is customary to prepare a minimum of three eggs at a time so that an unnoticed blood spot would be nullified by the majority and not render the pot unkosher. 

*Brown eggs and fresh farm eggs have a significantly higher percentage of blood spots. 

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