Selling Eggs in Maine
Information compiled by Richard Brzozowski, Extension Educator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension (Revised October 2014)
No license or inspection is required by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Quality Assurance and Regulations for producers of eggs with less than 3,000 laying hens. However, there are several regulations that sellers of eggs must follow.
When selling eggs in Maine, the size and grade of the eggs must be labeled on the egg carton. The name, address and zip code of the packer must also be on the carton (an address sticker or stamp will suffice). Eggs in the carton must match what is on the carton as labeled (grade, size, and color). Cartons must also be labeled to state that refrigeration is required. Eggs must be stored and transported at 45 degrees F or less.
When reusing cartons, the USDA Shield must be obliterated from the carton because this shield suggests that the eggs have been inspected by the USDA. Cartons must be clean and odor free. Some grocery chains do not want their cartons to be reused. Generic cartons can be purchased from a local farm store or online. Keep empty egg cartons in a clean, dry odorless area.
Clean the eggs of any fecal matter as needed. Use a bleach solution of 1 tablespoon of bleach per gallon of warm water to wash any soiled or dirty eggs and use single-use, disposable paper towels. Other egg wash materials designed for this purpose are available for purchase. One such product is Egg Wash Powder from NASCO. The temperature of the water for washing eggs should be at a minimum of 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not soak the eggs. Eggs have a natural wax covering. Excessive washing may remove this wax.
Those who sell eggs are encouraged to have product liability insurance. Your homeowner’s insurance may not be adequate. Speak to your insurance agent to make certain your product is covered.
The candling of eggs to determine cracks is not required. However, cracked eggs should not be sold because cracks increase the risk of contamination and entry of bacteria. Eggs must meet a minimum of Grade B quality.
For specific questions or additional information about regulations please call 207.287.6319 (cell: 207.441.3506) or write:
Quality Assurance and Regulations
Julie Berry, Food Processing Supervisor
Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
28 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
Email address: Julie.Berry@maine.gov
For your information: The State of Maine Food Code is a manual that lists all regulations related to food. You can request a free copy of the manual from the Maine Department of Agriculture or obtain in online on Maine.gov’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Quality Assurance & Regulations page.
For more information on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Egg Rule for medium and large-scale egg producers, visit the Egg Safety Final Rule page on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Food & Drug Administration website.