Livestock

Selling eggs

You do not need to register with anyone to sell surplus eggs, provided you don't grade them into sizes or describe them as free-range or organic (unless you are certified organic).

Commercial selling of eggs

If you sell eggs to someone who is going to sell them on, for example a shopkeeper, you must be registered with the Egg Marketing Inspectorate (England and Wales) or the Scottish Government Eggs and Poultry Unit. See their sites, linked to below, for lots of information about the regulations governing the selling of eggs.

Preparing eggs for sale

The shells of eggs are porous, but the last stage of production is the “bloom”, a damp layer that, when dry, allows the egg to breathe but stops bacteria getting into it. If you remove this, or if the shell is cracked, it makes the egg more vulnerable to bacterial infection.

If you are selling eggs, you should not wash them – most customers buying at the farm gate don’t mind a wee bit mud or a feather or two. You should not sell damaged eggs – keep them for yourself and use within a couple of days of laying.

Collect eggs regularly – at least once a day – and keep the nest boxes clean either by excluding the birds at night or by removing any soiled bedding in the morning. If you do have to wash eggs, for example before incubation, use hot water and an egg sanitizer.

Egg boxes

Your eggs should be sold in clean, undamaged egg boxes. Although you can re-use supermarket egg boxes, most sellers prefer to buy plain, unmarked cardboard egg boxes, and some will apply a sticker or other mark with their contact details to encourage repeat business.

Eggs in a boxPresentation is important when selling eggs.

We buy our egg boxes from eBay where you can expect to pay around 8p per box if buying in bulk.

Best before

You need to display a “best before” date; since eggs should be expected to last four weeks after laying and you will be selling them soon after they are laid, a sign saying “Best before three weeks from purchase date” will keep you legal.

Eggs from hens running with cockerels

The keeping of a cock bird with a laying flock is acceptable - the possible existence of a germ cell within class A graded eggs is acknowledged in the relevant regulations provided it is imperceptible at the time of grading.

For those of us selling ungraded eggs from hens running with a cockerel the most important thing is to sell eggs as soon as possible after laying, and advise customers to keep eggs refrigerated.

Rosemary Champion

About Rosemary Champion

Rosemary lives on a 12 acre smallholding in Angus, in the east of Scotland, where she keeps Ryeland Sheep, Shetland cattle and assorted poultry. She was destined to be a smallholder from an early age.

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