Fact Sheet for Sale of Shell Eggs to Grocery Stores and Restaurants

Revised 11/07/06

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Poultry farmers who wish to sell shell eggs from their production to grocery stores, restaurants, boarding houses, and other food service institutions, must meet certain requirements relating to food safety prior to sale. These requirements do not apply to farmers who sell eggs from their premises for direct sale to the ultimate consumer.

Eggs sold to grocery stores and restaurants must meet the requirements of Minnesota Statutes 29 and Minnesota Rules 1520. Copies of the statute and rules are available from the Revisor of Statutes website.

Basic compliance with these requirements includes the following:

  • The eggs must be clean and cannot be cleaned by wet cleaning. A sandpaper block or other means of dry-cleaning is acceptable.
  • All eggs must be candled and graded either by the farmer or by the grocery store or
    restaurant that purchases the eggs. A handbook about shell eggs and candling and grading criteria is available on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) website.
  • Eggs must be refrigerated at 45° F or less after grading and be maintained at that temperature during storage.
  • Containers (cartons, cases) of eggs must be labeled with the following mandatory information:
    1. Grade and size of the eggs.
    2. The name, address, and zip code of the packer or distributor.
    3. A pack date in Julian calendar (day of the year) form. For example: The labeling of a Grade A egg packed on June 1 will have a pack date of 152.
    4. A freshness date not to exceed 30 days from the date of pack. The freshness date must also have an explanation such as “expires,” “best if used by,” or similar explanation. In the above example using June 1 as the pack date, the freshness date is July 1.
    5. The safe handling instructions: “To prevent illness from bacteria: keep eggs refrigerated, cook eggs until yolks are firm, and cook foods containing eggs thoroughly.”

Farmers who sell only eggs from their production are exempted from obtaining a food handler license. However, they must register with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Meat, Poultry and Egg Inspection program at (651) 201-6027

This fact sheet was originally authored in 2003 by Lynn Mader as part of a project coordinated by Pride of the Prairie, a collaborative project of area farmers and citizens; Land Stewardship Project; University of Minnesota-Morris; University of Minnesota Extension Service; West Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership; and the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture was a partner in the project, and financial support was provided by the North Central Sustainable Agriculture Professional Development Program (SARE PDP). The fact sheet was updated in July 2006 by Kevin Elfering, head of the Dairy and Food Inspection Division at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. (651) 201-6027