Egg Grading, Distribution, Sales and Processing in Ontario
Egg grading has been an established practice in Canada since the 1940s. The purpose of egg grading is to maximize the quality and safety of chicken eggs sold to consumers.
At the grading station, eggs are washed and go through the candling process, where a light makes visible interior defects and cracks in the shell that may not otherwise be seen with the naked eye. Eggs that are cracked, dirty, or leaking have a higher risk of Salmonella contamination and are prevented from entering the table egg market.
Federal and provincial regulations regarding egg grading, distribution, sales and processing are in place to protect consumers.
Regulatory Requirement for Eggs in Ontario
Regulation 171/10 - Eggs and Processed Egg under the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001 regulates the sale, distribution, offering for sale, shipping, transportation and advertising of eggs and processed egg in Ontario.
The following summarizes the requirements:
- Grading and processing of eggs must be done in federally licensed stations according to the federal Safe Food for Canadians Regulations under the Safe Food for Canadians Act. There is also a grading requirement under the Food Premises Regulation (Ontario Regulation 493/17) under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, administered by local health authorities.
- Ungraded eggs may only be sold to an egg dealer or egg-grading station, except for those sold by producers on the farm premises directly to consumers.
- Inedible egg and inedible processed egg are prohibited from being used in preparation of food for human consumption or in the food prepared for animals if the meat of those animals is intended for human consumption. The preparation of animal food using inedible egg and inedible processed egg and the preparation of food for human consumption must be done in separate facilities.
- Records of shipments of inedible egg and inedible processed egg that leave the grading stations must be kept for a period of at least one year. Records must include the shipment date, receiver and quantity of inedible egg or inedible processed egg.
Requirements under other legislation
Requirements for egg grading and processing stations
All egg grading and processing stations are federally licensed and inspected. Requirements with respect to these facilities are outlined in the federal Safe Food for Canadians Regulations under the Safe Food for Canadian Act, including requirements for:
- construction, licensing, operation and maintenance of egg grading and egg processing stations;
- grading, packing and marking of eggs and processed egg.
Record-keeping requirements for egg grading stations
Grading station operators are required to maintain records regarding the number of eggs from each producer's lot and the grade of those eggs through a Grading Summary. These requirements are outlined in the Egg Farmers of Ontario General Regulations.
Grading requirements for retail sales
The Food Premises Regulation (Ontario Regulation 493/17) under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, administered by the local health authorities, requires that all domestic hen eggs at retail be graded. Eggs from animals other than domestic hens must be clean, have no visible cracks, and be stored below 4°C. This includes eggs sold at farmers' markets and other retail outlets.
For full details on these regulations, please refer to:
- Ontario Regulation 171/10 Eggs and Processed Egg, Food Safety and Quality Act
- R.R.O. 1990, Regulation 493/17 Food Premises Regulation, Health Protection and Promotion Act
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