COOPERATIVE EXTENSION UNIVERSITY
A Summary of Regulations of the
California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Pertaining to Eggs and Egg
Container Brand Registration
POULTRY FACT SHEET NO. 24 - Revised
Donald Bell, Extension Poultry
Specialist University of California, Riverside, CA 95616
Ralph Ernst, Extension Poultry Specialist, Animal Science Department,
University of California, Davis 95616
- California standards of
quality for individual shell eggs are applicable only to eggs that are a
product of domesticated chickens.
- No eggs lower than Grade B
shall be sold for human consumption.
- Blood eggs are classified as
inedible and cannot be sold for human consumption.
- Eggs in the shell are exempt
from standards established by these regulations when being transported:
Each container or
sub-container of processed shell eggs shall be marked with name, address
and zip code of the person or company by or for whom the eggs were graded
and packed, the Julian packing date, a “Sell By Date” that is no more than
30 days from the pack date, the descriptor “Keep Refrigerated” and the
unabbreviated designation of one of the following sizes and grades:
- From a location which
does not have proper or adequate facilities for grading to a shell egg
grading plant that does.
- To first point of
Size: Jumbo, Extra
Large, Large, Medium, Small, Peewee
Grade: AA, A, B
- Processed eggs must be held
under refrigeration in rooms kept at 45oF or below from packing
until sale to consumers.
- Any advertisement, sign or
placard, which indicates the price of eggs for sale, must also use the
full designation of size and grade.
- Superlative descriptions or
other amplifications of grade or size are not permitted on containers.
Examples include: Fancy, select, superior, premium, giant, etc.
- Descriptive terms such as
"polyunsaturated, higher in iodine," etc. must be approved by
- The terms "organic"
or "organically produced" are allowed only if the producer is
licensed as an organic producer by CDFA.
- Size, grade, name and address
markings are not required on containers or sub-containers:
"fertile" must be at least 85% fertile.
Polyunsaturated eggs (to be so
labeled or advertised) must contain at least 2% polyunsaturated fatty
Properly labeled, restricted
eggs (dirties and checks) may be sold directly to consumers only as
- If sold at retail from
a properly marked bulk display and packaged in the presence of the
- If packed for shipment
or in transit to points outside the state.
- If sold to household
consumers without advertising by the producer on the premises where
produced, from a flock of 500 hens or less.
- If being delivered
from outside the state to dealers for candling and grading.
- If being delivered to,
or in possession of, a dealer for candling and grading.
- If packed for sale to
the military forces of the US, labeled with one of the USDA's grades.
- By a shell egg
producer from his own flock's production, at the site of production or
- At secondary locations
operated by the producer-packer for the primary purpose of shell egg
- By a shell egg packer
at the grading station where grading or segregation occurred. Proper
labeling is required.
Any person engaged in
business in California as a shell egg dealer (a person engaged in the
business of producing, candling, grading, packing or otherwise preparing
shell eggs for market, sale or distribution) shall register with the
California Department of Food and Agriculture prior to June 30 of each
It is unlawful for any person
to sell as "fresh eggs," "ranch eggs" or "farm
eggs" or to represent as being fresh, any eggs which are below the
quality of grade A or which have been held in cold storage more than 30
It is unlawful to make any
false or misleading representation concerning quality, size, weight,
conditions, source, origin, or any other matter relating to eggs.
It is unlawful for any person
to sell to any retailer, consumer, or institutional consumer, any eggs
that are ungraded as to quality except under CDFA approval that an
- Checks and dirties -
direct sales to consumers: May be sold directly to a consumer for
exclusive use by his household and nonpaying guests in quantities not to
exceed 30 dozen per sale.
- Inedible eggs
(diffused bloods, leakers, incubator rejects) are unfit for human food
and must be denatured, labeled and used for animal foods or industrial
Direct questions to: CDFA Egg Inspection, 1220 N Street, Sacramento, CA
95814; telephone (916) 654-0800.