Actually, believe it or not, it's the color of the chicken's EARS that usually tells you what color eggs they will lay! Red earlobes=brown eggs, white earlobes=white eggs (or sometimes blue, green, etc.) Some white-feathered chickens have red earlobes, and leghorn chickens can be either white or brown, but they all have white earlobes and lay white eggs.
There's no difference in the nutritional value of the eggs, but brown ones are more expensive because they come from bigger chickens that eat more.
Sometimes they're rinsed with a very diluted bleach solution to kill germs (they do come out of a chicken, after all), but that's weaker than dish soap-- it won't hurt you even if you eat the eggshell.
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