Why Is My Egg Yolk White?

We're talking ghostly pale.

eggs cooking in a cast iron skillet

The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

While eggs might be an important staple in many refrigerators across the U.S., there's an equal number of questions and concerns when it comes to their appearance. Any slight cloud, weird white stranddifferent colored shellred flecks, or deviation in the yolk’s sunny color, and we take pause. (Spoiler alert: They’re all perfectly safe to eat, and don’t even substantially change the taste.)

One especially freaky occurrence: Seeing a completely white—or incredibly light-yellow—yolk. We’re talking ghostly levels of pale. It’s enough to make you frantically Google search or call your mom mid-recipe to double-check if it’s OK to consume. The good news is that you don’t need to toss that fried egg from the pan or scrap that whole bowl of pancake batter you were working on. Coming across a white yolk is perfectly natural, albeit a little rare in the United States.

What Causes an Egg Yolk to Be White?

The color of your egg yolk depends on the feed of the chickens. In the United States, our chickens typically eat a diet of yellow corn, and the pigments from the plant make their way into the egg yolks. Those pigments, called xanthophylls, are also what give chicken skin and fat its yellowish tint. If the chicken happened to eat more white corn than yellow, the yolk will be paler as well.

Why Do Eggs Yolks Look Different Around the World?

If you’ve traveled overseas, you’ve probably noticed that the color of yolks varies widely across the globe. Again, this difference comes down to what the chickens are eating. In many African countries, for example, chickens typically have a diet of mostly sorghum, a grain with much less yellow pigmentation than yellow corn, resulting in lighter, or completely white yolks. If you’ve traveled to South American countries and have noticed pink, blood orange, or almost reddish yolks, it’s because their chicken feed is often fortified with red annatto seeds.

While in the U.S., we’ve come to falsely associate darker yolks with happier hens or higher nutrition. Farmers can easily manipulate the chicken feed to include carrots, alfalfa powder, or annatto seeds to impact the color of their chickens’ eggs.

The Bottom Line

Don’t freak out. The occasional, unexpected white yolk in your carton or eggs is just as edible and delicious as a yellow one.

A version of this article originally appeared on MyRecipes.com.