Improved Labeling and Grading Standards for Eggs


Thanks to new labeling and grading standards, consumers can now be more assured that eggs bought at local supermarkets are of the highest quality, as the Bureau of Standards Jamaica, and the Jamaica Egg Farmers Association, recently launched new standards for labeling and grading eggs, for the benefit of consumers.
As a result eggs will now be sold in packages, which will state whether they are grade ‘A’ eggs, or grade ‘B’ eggs. Vice President of the Jamaica Egg Farmers Association, Roy Baker, says these standards mean that the consumer is assured of receiving a good quality product.
“We have been working with representatives in the Caribbean in establishing a labeling and grading specification for table eggs. Today it is a reality. This is indeed a win-win situation for our consumers at large. The consumers will have clearly a better choice in receiving premium quality eggs at their point of purchase,” Mr. Baker says.
He further explains that not only will egg farmers have to ensure that their eggs are of the finest quality, but the distributors of the eggs will have to make sure that the eggs are transported in proper conditions.
“In the first place we talk about the cold chain in eggs, packaging and transportation. Once the eggs are produced at the farm, there are certain requirements that will have to be followed in maintaining a cold chain in getting the eggs to the consumer,” Mr. Baker informs.
He adds that “where some challenges could come about is at the distributive point of trade, where distributors will be required to maintain the cold chain, and therefore eggs will have to be dispensed to consumers in cold facilities.”
“What is important in grading eggs is the consistency of the shell, and the liquid content. So there are methodologies we use in labeling and grading that addresses those two issues – what you can see, and what you can’t see. In the industry, a candle is used, where you pass the egg over a light source, and you can actually see inside there, and based on what you see, you can know if the egg is a grade ‘A’ egg or a grade ‘B’ egg. And you match that with the external things of the shell, whether it is cracked, whether it is rough, whether it is dirty or misshapen,” Mr. Baker explains.
He notes that with these new standards, consumers can rest assured that eggs that they purchase will have a minimum weight, and that they conform to certain minimum specification.
“We would also like to emphasize in the specification that this is another way in ensuring in purchasing your product that you get value for your money.
Because, many times, the consumer, regrettably, would go into the place of purchase, and move the smaller eggs into another container, and what we find in this process, where it cause eggs to break, and all (sorts of) undesirable things,” Mr. Baker informs.
He explains that the labeling specifications will reduce the need for consumers to “search” for the larger eggs because they will be more uniformed in the package.
In the meantime, Norman Williams, Chairman of Caribbean Egg Processors informed that eggs that do not make it to the market are liquefied, at the liquid egg plant, which has been in operation for more than 10 months now.
“The plant is a necessity for the grading and labeling standards to work, because in effect, what would take place is that the eggs that did not make the standards would not have a home, and so the possibility existed that they would find themselves back in the food chain, and (go) directly to the consumer. In creating this plant, we have a situation where we can pull those eggs that do not make the grade and liquefy them, and add value to them, and sell them to the hotels. These eggs will be pasteurized, homogenized, and labeled for sale,” Mr. Williams tells JIS News.
He informs that for the past ten months, the liquid egg plant has been most useful in taking eggs out of the system that are not quite suitable for sale on the retail market and selling them to the hotels.
However, Mr. Baker points out that the eggs that are sent to the hotels are not bad or inedible eggs, but merely eggs that are not quite up to standard in terms of appearance.
“I am not talking about the fact that the eggs are spoilt or bad, it just means that they don’t make the grade in terms of the shell as the shell might be discoloured or cracked. That would be a grade ‘C’ egg, and a grade ‘A’ egg is one where the yolk stands up, and the white doesn’t spread all over the place, it is nice and tight around the yolk. A grade ‘C’ egg just means it doesn’t meet the criteria for the grade ‘A’, but they are all edible,” Mr. Baker adds.

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