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Morgan Watts column: Do you sell eggs?

By Morgan Watts
N.C. Cooperative Extension

Do you have chickens and sell eggs? If so, keep reading for an overview of the N.C. Egg Law.  

If you are selling eggs, even if it is just a few dozen a week, there are a few rules/regulations that you need to follow to be in compliance with the N.C. Egg Law.

The Egg Law addresses labeling, standards, invoices, advertisement, displays, sanitation and marketing.

  • Eggs that are for sale must be clean (not necessarily washed, but clean).
  • Anyone selling more than 30 dozen eggs per week must grade the eggs and label cartons with the grade.
  • The eggs must be refrigerated to 45 degrees or less after gathering. Do not allow them to freeze.
  • Egg cartons — The Egg Law does not require that eggs be sold in new cartons. Re-used cartons must be “clean, unbroken and free of foreign odor.” Incorrect information on a re-used carton must be marked through.
  • Carton label requirements — The carton label must include the consumer grade, applicable size (based on weight), the word “eggs,” the number of eggs and the name and address of the producer. If eggs are not separated according to size, they should be labeled as “mixed size.”
  • The eggs can only be labeled as “fresh” if they meet the Grade A or AA Standard.
  • Signage — Any sign used to promote the sale of eggs that includes a price must also include the grade. If the eggs are ungraded, the farmer must put “ungraded eggs” on the sign.
  • Sales to restaurants and grocery retailers — The supplier must furnish an invoice showing the quantity, size, the word “eggs,” the grade and the farmer’s name and address. This invoice must be kept at the restaurant or store for a minimum of 30 days. This also applies to farmers’ market sales. Farmers must keep a running log of the total number of eggs sold each market day.
  • If a farmer sells over 30 dozen eggs per week, all of the Egg Law applies.
  • Farmers who sell fewer than 30 dozen eggs per week (total, through all markets) are not required to wash and grade the eggs. Farmers who fall under the 30 dozen or fewer per week exemption must include their name and address on the carton and the words “ungraded eggs.” These eggs are legal to be sold just like graded eggs — to restaurants, retail grocery stores, farmers’ markets, etc.

More information can be found on the NC Egg Law at http://www.ncagr.gov/fooddrug/food/egglaw.htm

For more information on poultry production, contact Morgan Watts, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Rowan County Center, livestock agent at 704-216-8970 or amwatts@ncsu.edu

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