The USA is the only country in the world that requires its citizens to refrigerate eggs. And there's a good reason for that! Pharmaceutical companies pour millions of dollars into campaigns for politicians to get elected. In turn elected officials "reward" the pharmaceutical companies with legislation that helps them sell more drugs.
Let me explain: When a hen lays an egg, her goal is to hatch that egg (ours is to eat that egg). Since she can lay only one egg each day, it takes her 10-14 days to lay a "clutch" of eggs. When her clutch is full, she settles down on the eggs and heats them up to 101 degrees. Inside that egg is an enzyme named "trypsin," which causes the egg to begin to develop when the hen heats it to 101 degrees. If the temperature falls below 50 degrees the trypsin dies...this is mother nature's way to telling the hen not to hatch the eggs because it's too cold for the chicks to survive.
Trypsin also lowers cholesterol. (Something the pharmaceutical company would rather do by selling you drugs!) Pharmaceutical companies know that your refrigerator will kill the trypsin in the eggs. So, the favor they got from the newly elected politicians was legislation that requires us to refrigerate our eggs.
A second enzyme that your refrigerator kills is Lanamine. Lanamine is responsible for healthy joints. But, if your eggs are meeting your body's demand for lanamine, then the pharmaceutical companies wouldn't be able to package and sell their drugs...and politicians wouldn't have campaign money to spend. So...refrigerate! Lets keep those politicians politicising!
I recently learned of two other enzymes in eggs that die when refrigerated, but I've not been able to run down the benefits from those enzymes. But, I bet the pharmaceutical companies know! I think I'll ask them.
Also note that If you pick up your eggs directly from the hen house, you do not need to wash them. I use a damp sponge to knock off any dirt on them and then put them on the kitchen counter.
When the hen lays an egg she puts an antibiotic coating on the egg. This protects the egg from things like salmonella from getting into the egg. However, if you wash off the antibiotic coating, you wash away the protection.
It's interesting to note that the government also requires egg distributors to wash the eggs before they sell them. Isn't that just great?