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Overview of the Purchase and Sale of Eggs and Processed Egg Regulation

 
 
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 Purpose | Inspected Eggs | Provincial Licensing | CFIA | Federal Inspection | Role of AF
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One of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry's (AF) goals is the continued excellence in food safety. This goal recognizes that a reputation for excellence in food safety is essential for maintaining consumer confidence and expanding markets, both domestic and international. AF promotes this vision through the development and administration of food safety legislation and policy. This web page will provide a brief overview of the Purchase and Sale of Eggs and Processed Egg Regulation. Please consult the text of the legislation and/or AF for additional information.

Purpose

The Purchase and Sale of Eggs and Processed Egg Regulation regulates the legal processing and sale of eggs in Alberta.

Inspected Eggs

In Alberta, only inspected eggs can be sold for commercial use. No person shall sell, offer or hold for sale, ship, transport or deliver chicken eggs unless the eggs are graded, stored, inspected, packed, marked and labelled in accordance with federal legislative requirements.

An uninspected egg has not been inspected and graded at a federally-registered egg station. A provincial exemption allows for the sale of uninspected eggs to a consumer. These eggs must be consumed by the person who purchased the eggs or consumed by that person’s family members.

In order to sell uninspected eggs to a consumer, the following five conditions must be met.
  • The eggs must be produced on the producer's own farm. A producer is a person who sells, ships, transports, or delivers eggs that originate on their farm.
  • The eggs must be for the consumer's own or household consumption only. The eggs cannot be purchased for resale.
  • The eggs must be clean and have no visible cracks or leaks. Cracked eggs cannot be sold due of food safety concerns.
  • The eggs must be kept in the producer’s possession at an ambient temperature that does not exceed 7°C. Eggs for sale should be held in a cooler that can maintain the cool temperature. Eggs in an open refrigeration unit can be displayed provided the air temperature does not exceed 7°C.
  • The eggs must be packed under sanitary conditions in clean containers that are conspicuously and legibly marked with the word "UNINSPECTED" in letters that are at least 2 centimetres in height.
All five conditions must be met in order to sell eggs to a consumer. In this case, a producer may sell, offer or hold for sale, ship, transport or deliver uninspected eggs directly to a consumer.

Provincial Licensing

A licence issued by the Egg Farmers of Alberta Board is required if a person possesses more than 300 hens.

The Egg Production and Marketing Regulation implements a licensing system for egg producers and processors. The Egg Farmers of Alberta Board issues licences to produce, market or process eggs (or carry on the activity of a producer or processor).

For additional information about becoming a licensed producer or processor, please contact the Egg Farmers of Alberta at 1-877-302-2344.

A producer is not required to be licensed by the Egg Farmers of Alberta Board if the person does not possess more than 300 hens or whose production facilities capacity does not exceed 300 hens.

CFIA

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for ensuring that shell eggs and processed egg products leaving a federally-registered egg station are safe and wholesome. The eggs are graded, packaged and labelled according to established federal standards.

Federal Inspection

Uninspected eggs received at a registered egg station are graded and marked prior to being marketed. An inspected egg is one that has undergone candling, grading and other food safety checks at a federally-registered egg station.

"Inspecting" an egg is different from “candling” or "grading" an egg. Candling is an examination of the interior condition of an egg by rotating the egg in front of or over a light source that illuminates the contents of the egg. Grading of eggs only occurs at a federally-registered egg station. Candling and grading of an egg are components of the inspection process.

Role of AF

AF has developed a food safety surveillance system that validates the safety of Alberta's agriculture and food products. AF is committed to continued excellence in food safety by ensuring legislative compliance.

AF provides leadership and support for safe food production systems and global market access for Alberta’s agriculture and food industry through information, services and administration of legislation.

Please consult the text of the legislation and/or AF for additional details.

If you have questions or concerns about the interpretation and enforcement of the legislative provisions discussed on this web page, you may contact:
      Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
      Animal Health and Assurance Branch
      301 Provincial Building
      4920 - 51st Street
      Red Deer, AB T4N 6K8
      Telephone: 1-866-252-6403
      Fax: 403-340-5870
A toll-free telephone number is available if you wish to report a concern relating to this legislation. AF’s toll-free hotline telephone number is 1-866-252-6403.
 
 
 
 
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Don Campbell.
This document is maintained by Karen Hladych.
This information published to the web on October 28, 2005.
Last Reviewed/Revised on January 11, 2018.