Bulletin #2218, Selling Eggs in Maine

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Information compiled by Richard Brzozowski, Extension Educator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

For information about UMaine Extension programs and resources, visit extension.umaine.edu.
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carton of eggs

If you are selling eggs or planning to sell eggs in Maine, you ought to be aware of relevant state regulations. These regulations exist to protect both the buyer and the seller. Food safety is the primary reason for these regulations. Do your best to produce, handle, and sell the highest quality eggs possible. Your customers will appreciate your efforts.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Quality Assurance and Regulations require no license or inspection for producers of eggs with fewer 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 USDA has inspected the eggs. 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 or write:

Quality Assurance & Regulations
Dana Finnemore
Maine Department of Agriculture
State House Station 28
Augusta, ME 04333-0028
Email address: dana.finnemore@maine.gov

FYI: 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 on the Quality Assurance & Regulations page of Maine.gov’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry website.

For more information on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Egg Rule for medium and large-scale egg producers, see the Egg Safety Final Rule page of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s website.

Information in this publication is provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned. No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.

© 2014

Call 800.287.0274 (in Maine), or 207.581.3188, for information on publications and program offerings from University of Maine Cooperative Extension, or visit extension.umaine.edu.

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