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I Thought Egg Yolks Were Yellow

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So last night I was tucking away into some poached eggs lovingly made by my good lady. The toast was well buttered and the eggs were perfectly poached (i.e. still a bit runny). All was well until I cut into the second of the two eggs and was presented with the following sight:

A non-white egg yolk

I’m not sure how well you can tell from the picture (I’d already eaten the other egg which would have helped for comparison) but the egg yolk is completely white with not even a hint of yellow! The egg was well within its sell-by date and the other one (from the same batch) was just fine. Has anybody come across such a phenomenon before?

Update 1: Andy B has a better photo of a white egg yolk compared to a normal one in his comment below.

Update 2: The general consensus is that white egg yolks are perfectly safe to eat and the reason they’re white is a lack of pigment. Count yourself lucky if you ever find one – they’re pretty rare! Lots more information in the comments below.

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366 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. I’m another “me too”. I ate my white egg, since it did not smell off, then got second thoughts and decided to hit tne internet, and found this site. So i’m relieved that my instinct to use my nose to check the egg was justified.

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  2. From the slow but steady list of comments to this blog entry, it is beginning to look like there might be more than the “10 to 12 white eggs per year” that the Deputy Chair of the British Egg Council described.

    I got a white egg yolk today (in Melbourne, Australia). If you’re interested in looking at yet another white egg yolk (next to two yellow ones), here’s the link to the photo and my description:

    http://www.anthonyholmes.com/Blog.nsf/dx/white-egg-yolk.htm?opendocument&comments

    This wasn’t one of the “deformed”, “thick”, “double yolk” eggs that some people mentioned. It was a perfectly normal eggshell and apart from the colour, the yolk was normal.

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  3. Just to clarify – the yolk of the egg was absolute white – like a stick of chalk. Not pale yellow or tinged with yellow – it was white.

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  4. I happened to find a white egg yolk in a batch of eggs I bought from UAE. They taste the same as the yellow ones.

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  5. I just found one too! Don’t think I’ll eat it though – it doesn’t look very appetising.

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  6. Well.. the big egg debate..lol
    Last week we had a double yolked egg and today a single WHITE yolked egg..both from the same batch, well in the same box.. so the big debate goes on. We did eat it and it tasted just fine. BY the way we’re in sunny sussex on the south coast of the UK..

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  7. From what I have been told corn is usually fed in a higher proportion to laying chickens. Because of the cost of corn,ethanol production, there has been an increase in grains fed to chicken, which doesn’t impart much color to the yolk. Now that being said, it doesn’t make much sense that two eggs from the same dozen have different coloring. I know that chicken farmers will give marigold to chickens to increase the color of the yolk. Just something to think about, I’ve heard stranger stories.

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  8. Hi Guys
    My wife was making breakfast this morning when she came a cross a ‘blondie’ she mixed it up with a couple of yellow yolkers for some scambled eggs. No ill effects so far, but have developed a strange urge to peck at the lawn and kip in a cage with the light on!
    Love from Liverpool

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  9. I’m in northern Tanzania, Africa, and I just cracked open an egg with a white yolk. I’m making cookies, so I figured since it would be baked I might as well use it. I’ll comment again if I get sick. Otherwise, let’s assume the eggs are ok!

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  10. I found another one this morning, and consequently this blog in search of an answer. I moved from the US to Slovakia in July, and we get our eggs from a rural chicken farmer. About three weeks ago my father-in-law (Slovak) had a hard boiled with a white yolk, ate it, and explained that sometimes you just get that and he didn’t know why it happened. It didn’t seem as ‘out-of-the-ordinary’ to him as it did to me. I suppose the explanation from Radio 4ā€™s iPM programme is sufficient. Well, I have a strong sense of adventure, so I’m going to eat it, and I’ll post any side effects as they occur.

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  11. hi all. we have about 15 chickens – have had the same ones for a few years now and today for the first time ever, with no change in diet or anything else in their lifestyles, we’ve had 2 very small (much smaller than usual) eggs and when I cracked them for our yorkshire puds the yolks are white. never heard of it before and like a lot of people on here, found this blog looking for some info. it did startle me a bit, but we’ve sold our other eggs so I had no choice. won’t mention it till the family have finished their teas tho. but very odd. never heard of it before.

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  12. By the way, Im in New Zealand and found 2 yesterday. I couldnt eat them either. These were organic free-range. Glad there are other people out there who were also curious. Id never come across them before.

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  13. I’m from the South coast of the UK and just cracked two eggs into a cookie mixture.. one yolk was yellow and the other was white. Couldn’t decide what to do so came online and googled “white egg yolk” so here I am. Glad I’m not the only one!

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  14. I am living in Nebraska and I have found two of the white egg yolks while eating hard boiled eggs in the last month. I don’t eat the yolk but the egg white tastes normal. The first time I saw the white egg yolk it almost ended my breakfast but I was hungry.

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  15. We just got one too here in Southern Ontario, Canada. Ate ’em, they were fine. The other eggs in the carton were all normal coloured. Just a fun rarity.

    … now to check my lottery tickets.

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  16. While working at my job in the deli of kroger’s grocery store i was packing up salads and cut into the hard boiled egg and the yolk was completely white like a ghost… we displayed it for halloween as our ghost egg. i didn’t know enough about why it would do that so refraned from using in the salad.. didn’t want to poison any one…..just in case there was something wrong with the chicken who laid it… like bird flu or something…. but it was cool to see.

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  17. Hi.
    Like others, I Googled and found this thread after finding a white yolk.
    I threw mine away, as I have no sense of smell to be able to use that to reassure myself it was okay.
    Upon making that decision, and whilst scooping it back out of the pan, I found it to have the same thick membrane as Dan Wager noted; definitely not normal and I wouldn’t have eaten it even if i could smell that it was apparently normal.

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  18. I am working near to Tanzania in the indian ocean, the eggs we get from Tanzania are ALL white yolked, i wasnt pretty sure why or if they were bad for health, but we had to eat something…

    The taste is almost the same, the only real difference i found is that the yolk is white, and of course looks unnatural since we are used to the yellow/orange yolks.

    good topic btw.

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    • I just returned from Uganda and all the yolks are white. To those folks a yellow yolk would be the anomaly. We ate them daily-no issues and they tasted virtually the same.

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  19. The yellow color in egg yolks comes from the plant foods that the hen eats. Most often the yellow color is due to a natural compound called lutein. The hen gets the lutein from her diet, most often corn. Lutein is also in vegetables (e.g. kale, broccoli, spinach, celery)and flowers (marigold). A white egg yolk indicates that the hen that laid the egg did not have lutein in her diet or else was unable to absorb lutein from her food. Chickens cannot make lutein; they have to consume it. Hens that are fed wheat which is low in lutein produce eggs that are only slightly yellow.

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    • That certainly explains off-yellow yolks and has indeed been mentioned in the comments above and in the BBC article linked to but doesn’t quite explain why a hen can pass one egg with white yolk and many more yellow – it’s more of a one-off thing. So if it were lacking in lutein you’d expect all the eggs of a given batch to have similarly white yolks but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

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  20. There is nothing wrong with the egg, we had boiled eggs this morning and one was white. Nature at it’s best. Isn’t it marvelous and wonderous. Just when you think you are smarter than the universe it throws you a curve to make you think. The yellow in the egg yolk comes from carotenoids, that’s whats in the food they eat. The more yellow the more the chicken ate.

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  21. It’s December 25, 2008. I am over 40 years of age, cracked open thousands of eggs, and today to my horror an egg had a pure white as snow yolk. I didn’t eat it, it looked too uncertain. Free range eggs too.

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  22. An entry from Ireland.. and from 2009! I was doing some New Year’s baking today & came across the first white yolk I’d ever seen. Like the previous entry, Tony from Sydney, I’m over 40, have been baking for years, and had never seen the like.. They were free range eggs and all the others had normal yolks. I only needed the white for the dish I was making, but I have to say it was kind of freaky and I considered photographing it. Nor sure if I’d have eaten it. I’m sure it was fine though, & I was happy to use the white of the egg. I put it down to being something like an albino chick/egg. I’m not thoroughly convinced by the other explanations – surely no hen lays all white-yolked eggs? Funny that this is the only blog on the net for this phenomenon! Well done, John! (PS: also came across an article where a Japanese company is deliberately rearing chickens on a different diet to produce whiter yolks.. strange. The link is: http://www.jamd.com/image/in-search/51375424/#2g51375424 )

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  23. Well, in all my years of making my mom’s fabulous chicken salad I’ve never seen a white egg yolk until this afternoon. Very freaking!

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  24. oh my goodness!!! another white egg yolk!! i cracked some open this morning to cook a scrambled egg, and one of them was white, like an albino egg… apparently brown chickens make red eggs, so maybe white chickens make white egg yolks? just a thought šŸ™‚

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  25. Since I got back from Christmas break, every hard-boiled egg I have eaten contained a pale yolk. I eat at the Vanier residence cafeteria in the University of British Columbia. I am not a picky eater, so I have just accepted it.

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  26. Here’s a kicker…I found my white egg yolk in the same egg with a bright yellow yolk…a double yolk egg. I’ve found double yolks before, but never a white one. I’m just wondering if white yolks are albino chickens.

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  27. This is so crazy to me. Like everyone else, I got an egg with a white yolk today. It gave me the heebee-geebees!my google search has brought me here. I was so creeped out I tossed it. But now I am dissappointed that I didn’t ingest this once in a life time egg! Mine smelled funny, but then again I am preggars, so everything smells funny. Mine was hard boiled. I hope at some point I get to see one raw. Maybe in another 30 years! Hahaha!!
    Does anyone notice how many people mentioned getting their eggs from free range or rural sources? Ours were organic vegetarian free range too.
    Bon Appetite!

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      • You will John if you come to Ghana, I came to Ghana after many years in Europe where I though the egg yolk were too pale as comapared the organic eggs which was the norm as all chickens were corn fed, I was very much looking forward to some decent eggs, so you can imagine my horror when I first cracked open an egg and found this white yolk instead of the deep yellow yolk I was expecting not to mention the disapointment, i too thought it was a one off, but every single egg i have opened has white yolk, it seems to be the norm now the yellow yolk is the one off phenomenon if you are lucky. I have refused to eat them, I love my eggs so I did not give up so I searched and found a local “organic” farm, where i found some yellow yolk eggs but even this is a lottery out of every 4 white yolks i find a yellow one. It might take a while for me to accept this white yolk thing and to get over my disappointment. but at least now i know it is safe to eat, my though when I first saw it was “is this some kind of alien invasion?”

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  28. I just now found one in my hardboiled batch. I bit into it first of course and then realized, “Hey! This thing looks like white chalk!” It tasted fine, and after a quick Google search, I found this cool blog about it.

    Who says Friday the 13th is bad luck!?

    I am in Northern Colorado, USA

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  29. I cracked a “fresh” jumbo egg into a bowl only to my surprise to find this clear yolk. Yikes!! No un-Godly smell, but a thick skinned yolk with a watery fluid within. The wife asked, are you going to eat that? No, I’m not giving up my life insurance just yet, you’ll have to do better than this!

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  30. I found this blogg when searching for an answer for my not one, but 6 white yolk eggs. Had boiled four to make an egg salad when I realised they were all white. Was unsure if they were good to eat, cracked open the other 2 in the cartoon – and they were white too. Eat the eggs after reading this – and so far so good.. hehe..
    Live in Sydney, Australia.

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  31. This is from the USDA’s website explaining why we get some white yolks vs. some more yellowish. To summarize, it has to do with the hen’s diet. If she eats more cornmeal (which is whiter) you will get a whiter yolk.

    “The color of yolk varies in shades of yellow depending upon the diet of the hen. If she eats plenty of yellow-orange plant pigments, such as from marigold petals and yellow corn, the yolk will be a darker yellow than if she eats a colorless diet such as white cornmeal. Artificial color additives are not permitted in eggs. “

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    • Now if you read through the comments on this post you’ll see that most white egg yolks come from batches where the rest of the egg yolks are yellow. So while your quote is correct in that it explains the different shades of yellow yolk you can find, it does not explain why the odd egg in a batch is white. It really just appears to be a random thing where the chicken doesn’t pass on the pigment to the yolk in the egg. It’s one of those one-in-a-million chances!

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  32. John is correct. The USDA’s info is not completely correct. We have around 15 free range hens whose diet is layers pellets (mornings) and mixed corn (afternoons). Our white yolked egg (earlier post in this list) was a complete one off, from a hen whose diet had been the same as the others. Her eggs have been normal yellow apart from the one, which was completely white. Sorry to burst USDA’s bubble, whatever colour it is! šŸ™‚

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  33. Thanks both Lynda and John for the clarification; I had no idea. I suppose the mystery continues! šŸ˜‰ I have not experienced a white yolk since the last one I posted about previously. I eat about 2 hardboiled eggs a day, so hopefully I will be lucky enough to come across another.

    Do you suppose that it could be a situation similar to what humans experience in that a recessive gene is thrown once in a while, making the yolk white? In your experience, are there ever any white feathered-fuzzy baby chicks should one of these eggs be fertilized?

    Forgive my ignorance, please.

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    • If you do find another one consider yourself lucky – most people never seen one in a lifetime!

      It most likely is something like that, but I believe it only affects the pigment in the yolk rather than the characteristics of the chick that might grow from it. Although thinking about it, you wouldn’t know the colour of the yolk from a chick that hatches – quite a tricky one to figure out!

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  34. who knows. Sarehan – i think we all need forgiveness for our ignorance on this one! šŸ˜‰ the other odd thing about our one and only (so far) white yolked egg is that it was quite a bit smaller than the normal for our hens.

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  35. ps we don’t have a cockrel so unfortunately can’t answer you other question from our own experience, Sarehan – it’s a good question tho!

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  36. Hello I am a small flock egg producer and I have had some green egg yolks produced.I have learned of white egg yolks but green never.Are these safe?The yolk is actually a flourescent green and transparent.The contents of the egg are under pressure as learned while cracking the shell the egg white actually comes squirting out.Any info would be great.Dave

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    • Sounds like the chicken’s been eating radioactive feed! I’ve certainly never heard about green yolks, although I don’t know what colour they turn when they go off…

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    • Green is a color of decaying organic tissue, and pressure is a sign of bacterial action, did you eat that egg? I don’t think I would have, sounds like that egg got a trace of something that festered inside of it to me.

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  37. I’m amazed nobody’s suggested our chickens are being interfered with by something extra-terrestrial! oh oh, have I started something now? šŸ˜‰

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  38. I have a barred rock pullet that just started laying eggs with snow white yolks. A Google of “white yolks” sent me here. Who knew it was so rare? It’s definitely odd! I’ve gotten a half dozen white yolks from her so far.

    She’s a new layer, having started laying in early March, and her yolks have been a rich gold until last week, at the end of a 22-day marathon of laying every 23-24 hours. That may have quickly depleted her pigment stores since she’s so young. (Her legs went pale as well, like they would in the fall, at the end of the laying season.) I’m feeding her more greens and corn to hopefully yellow up her yolks. My other two hens are still laying bright yellow yolks, so this is very freaky.

    By the way, green yolks can be created when hens eat acorns or a weed called shepherd’s purse. Although they taste fine, it’s hard to get beyond the color!

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  39. One of our boiled eggs also turned out to have a white yolk. Not pale yellow, but snowy white, as white as the white of egg! The texture was definitely that of yolk, a little finer maybe. When we took a sample of it back to the shop, the shopkeeper was non-plussed and claimed the yolk was “simply missing”. He gave us a new six-pack, though.

    Ainsdale, Southport, UK

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  40. Update on my white-yolk-laying pullet: She stopped laying entirely on May 9 and seems to have gone broody. I wonder if white yolks are a sign of impending broodiness in some hens? Interestingly, nobody on the Backyard Chickens forum fessed up to ever seeing a white yolk, so this is a strange event at least here in the States.

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  41. Like most of the people posting comments here, I stumbled across this website when googling “white egg yolks”. I’ve just returned from Zanzibar (Tanzania), where I was served white egg omelets for 3 days straight for breakfast. At first I assumed they were egg white omelets, but then on the last day they served me two hard boiled eggs with white yolks (I have a great picture, but I don’t know how to post it here). I asked the hotel staff about it, but they didn’t seem at all surprised, which leads me to believe that egg yolks are normally white in Zanzibar. Someone mentioned that they get eggs with white yolks from Tanzania, so maybe it’s a regional thing.

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  42. I have 4 chickens and all have been laying for 6 months, for the past 2 weeks one chicken is laying a white yoker every day.
    They taste as good as the yellow/golden yokes.
    Im in Dorset, uk

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  43. Ok so its 2009 iam a ghanaian in ghana…africa if you are unsure… I chomped into my hard boiled
    Egg and I was waiting to see yellow but it was all very white.I googled white egg yoke AS I ate it…it tastes like a regular egg sooo its going down. I would really like to find
    out how it happens… Mayb genetics…an albino egg/chicken…perhaps. Thanks for the site! I guess I’d live!

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  44. I talked to my sister today who lives in KY. She asked me if I had ever seen a white yolk egg. She just got one. Doesn’t have access to internet so I came on to check it out and found this site. I am calling her back to let her know what I have found out. Even with as many comments as I have seen, seems to me to still be a pretty rare thing with as many eggs as are eaten. I did tell her to take a picture.

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  45. Just adding a me-too.
    I googled, found this site, read that it was safe… scrambled it up with a ‘normal’ egg and ate it up.
    I’m in India.

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  46. We eat alot of hard boiled eggs, and today i grabbed one to eat and bit into it and saw it was all white! I was like what the heck is wrong with my egg? I have NEVER seen or even heard of a white egg yolk before, and this is the only place I could find any info on it. Glad to see i’m not alone. This is crazy, lol
    I’m going to try to add a pic I took today of it next to a normal egg

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