Egg Marking and Coding
When it comes to Egg Marking and Coding, all Class (Grade) A eggs sold at retail outlets and public markets within the EU must be stamped with a code which identifies the:
- method of production - eg organic, free range, barn or cage
- country of origin
- hen laying establishment
There are a few exceptions. The regulations do not apply in full to hen eggs sold directly to the consumer for their own use:
- by the producer on their own farm
- by the producer through door-to-door selling
- by the producer in a local public market
In these circumstances, the producer cannot make any use of the quality or weight grading terms.
Stamping eggs tells the consumer their level of quality and where the eggs have come from. It can also help egg marking and coding inspectors to trace eggs and enforce EU egg marketing regulations. This can be particularly useful in the unlikely event of an infectious disease outbreak.
If you have fewer than 50 birds and sell at a public market you do not have to mark your eggs with a producer code. However, you must display your name, address, the best before date and advice on how to keep eggs chilled after purchase. You should also be aware that individual markets still may have their own rules which require the stamping of a producer code on hen eggs.
If you have 50 or more hens you will need to be registered and stamp eggs with your producer code along with the best before date and advice to keep eggs chilled after purchase.
Assurance schemes provide information to consumers on the conditions of production and origin of particular foods. They are voluntary organisations, developed by the poultry industry to ensure that standards of welfare, traceability, husbandry, storage and other aspects of production are met to increase consumer confidence.
The British Lion Mark indicates that eggs are produced to a code of practice operated by the British Egg Industry Council. Around 85 per cent of UK eggs are stamped with the British Lion Mark accreditation.
The Laid in Britain Scheme is a consortium of independent egg producers and packers which markets locally and regionally with traceable produce.