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Table eggS

Table eggs are those not subjected to any preservation process and can be consumed by humans for nutrition.        




















Table Egg Grading (by Size and Quality)

In the US, the table egg grading is done according to size and quality. Quality is determined by certain standards set forth by AMS/USDA, which evaluate both the outside and inside quality of eggs.

There are three egg grades available for US consumers and export: Grade AA, A and B. Grading is determined according to the inside quality of the egg, appearance and condition of the egg shell. Eggs of different grades may differ in weight (size).

  • Grade AA Eggs: Have thick firm whites.

  • Grade A Eggs: Have similar characteristics to Grade AA, except that whites are reasonably firm. This is the most commonly egg quality grade sold at retail.

  • Grade B Eggs: Have less thick whites and yolks that may be wider and flattened vs higher quality grade eggs.


Is Egg Grading Mandatory?

Inspection for wholesomeness is mandatory, but quality grading is voluntary. If a company chooses to grade its eggs by quality grade, then they have to pay USDA for the service. USDA’s Grade Shield shown on the carton means eggs have been graded by quality grade, and weight (size) classified under supervision of a qualified AMS/USDA grader.



Stamps or Marks of Table Egg Quality Grades.


The size indicates the net minimum weight required for a dozen eggs. This does not refer to the size of one single egg, or how big it looks. It is the total weight of a dozen of eggs which categorizes them into the following weight classes:

If you wish to know more about egg quality eggs, you may click on the following link:


a) Agencies, Organizations and Programs

Table eggs, egg products, hatching eggs and birds up to three days of age for reproduction, shall meet the different standards, regulations, laws and requirements for production, storage, transportation, commercialization and exportation/importation, both in the US as in the destination Country (Mexico).

Below are the Government Agencies and private organizations regulating, verifying and providing information regarding goods subject matter herein, and their main activities are also listed. Also, the laws, programs and associations applicable to the goods are shown in order to know and clarify the actions and paperwork that are to be carried out by exporters in order to send their products into Mexico.

AMS (Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA’s Agency)

  • It is in charge of the Shell Eggs Surveillance Program which ensures that eggs sold in the marketplace meet equal or better standards than Grade B.

  • It performs annual inspections in the production farms or hatcheries, and in places where eggs are handled, to ensure they meet the requirements.

  • It manages a voluntary program used in classification by quality grades of eggs for shell eggs. This is paid for by the processing plants.

  • Since April 1998, it prohibits repackaging of eggs previously sent for retail, and packaged under the voluntary grading classification program.

  • To contact AMS’s staff, you may send an email or call using the following contact information: Livestock and Poultry Program, Jennifer Porter, (Deputy Administrator) email:  Phone: (202) 720-5705. Or to get information on voluntary verification programs, you may call: (202) 720- 5705 or send an email to:

  • It issues the disease-free statement certification for table eggs for Mexico, which certifies that goods meet the sanitary requirements from their origin as per the sanitary requirements asked by SENASICA in Mexico. (It is a pre-certification before the request/issuance of the health certificate for export LP-210S.

  • It issues the table eggs export health LP-210S.

If you wish to know the grading  certificate form for table eggs, you may click the following link:


If you wish to know the Disease-Free Statement Certification form for table eggs, you may click the following link:


FSIS (Food Safety Inspection Service, USDA’s Agency)


It verifies shell eggs packaged for consumers are labeled with legends, such as: “Keep Refrigerated”, and transported under refrigeration and at ambient temperature not greater than 45 ºF (7.22 ºC).

If you wish to know detailed information you may click the following link:

  • FSIS and FDA share authority on egg safety, and work together to solve the issue of Salmonella in eggs.

FDA (Food and Drug Administration)

  • It verifies that the Egg Safety Rule is complied with.

  • It regulates table eggs for human consumption.

  • Production farms shall be authorized by the FDA, and are obliged to keep written guidelines summarizing their safety practices.

  • State and local Health Departments, in cooperation with the FDA, supervise the safe handling and good manufacturing practices for table eggs.

  • It regulates egg processing plants, such as: plants where eggs are washed, graded and packaged.


ARS (Agricultural Research Service, USDA’s Agency)

  • The ARS carries out research on food safety together with the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) which is managed by USDA.

  • In 2005, the ARS established the Egg Safety and Quality Research Unit, to expand experimentation in egg safety and processing.


State Department of Agriculture

  • The State Departments of Agriculture monitors egg packers that do not use the grading system for shell eggs by AMS under USDA, who are in conformity with all official US standards, and the grade and weight classes. Even though some packing companies do not use USDA’s quality grading systems for table eggs, they can in fact market their products in the USA and export to Mexico. 

Local or State Departments

  • Local or State Health Departments supervise that foodservice or food-selling establishments are in conformity with all the local or State health requirements.

  • Local and State Health Departments, together with FDA, supervise processing plant shell egg practices, which do not use USDA’s quality grading system to ensure there are safe handling and good production practices. Even though some packing companies do not use USDA quality grading system for table eggs, they can in fact market their products in the USA and export them to Mexico. 


Goods and Agencies Involved



Programs, laws that apply for shell egg








b) Rules, laws and regulations to consider

NPIP:  National Poultry Improvement Plan


It is a state and federal level program through which new diagnostic technology can be applied more effectively for the improvement of poultry and egg poultry products throughout the entire Country.


Through APHIS, the Federal Government supervises the NPIP, however, a state-level Agency manages the certification program for every State. The Agency managing NPIP certification is usually the Department of Agriculture of that State or a division thereof.


The NPIP certifies that the flocks are in safe places and have strict biosecurity and monitoring.


Depending on the State where the farm is located, for the applicant to be referred to the official State agent to provide him with the necessary information to become/be certified as a Plan’s participant, you may click on the following link and find the State your farm is located in: 


To get more information regarding the NPIP, you may call the number below, or go to the following address: 1506 Klondike Rd. Suite 101 Conyers, Georgia 30094 Phone: 770-922-3496 Fax: 770-922-3498.

Sanitary Transportation Rule for Foods for Human and Animal Consumption

The objective of this Rule is to prevent practices during transportation that may cause food safety risks, for example: lack of appropriate refrigeration, inappropriate cleaning of vehicles between loads and lack of appropriate food protection.

Specifically, the Rule sets forth the following guidelines:

  • Vehicles and Transportation Equipment: Design and maintenance of vehicles and transportation equipment shall guarantee that they will not cause food transported to become unsafe. For example, they need to be appropriately and adequately “cleanable” for the intended use, and they shall keep the necessary temperature for safe transportation of foods.

  • Transportation Operations: Measures taken during transportation shall guarantee food safety, such as: appropriate temperature controls; prevention of contamination of ready-to-eat products due to contact with raw foods; prevention of contamination due to contact with non-food elements in the same load, or in a previous load; and protection of foods against cross-contamination, e.g. involuntary introduction of food allergens.

  • Training: Transportation staff training on sanitary transportation practices and documentation. This training is required when the carrier and the forwarder agree that the carrier is responsible for the sanitary conditions during transportation.

  • Records: Keeping written records on procedures, agreements and training (requirement for the carriers). Retention time required for these records depends on the type of record and when the activity took place, but not to exceed 12 months. 

  • Best transportation practices to ensure safety of food products.


If you would like to know the rule specifications for eggs, you may click on the following link:


If you would like to know an information sheet on the rule for eggs in Spanish, you may click on the following link:



Egg Safety Rule, FDA


It is a document to provide guidance to egg producers on certain provisions contained in FDA’s July 9th, 2009, final rule “Prevention of Salmonella Enteritidis in Shell Eggs during Production, Storage and Transportation”, and it includes the implementation of Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) prevention measures, such as: how to sample for SE and how to maintain records documenting compliance with the final rule.


FDA’s guidance documents, including the final Egg Safety Rule do not establish legally enforceable responsibilities. Instead, the guidance describes the FDA’s current thinking on a topic, and should be viewed as recommendations, unless the regulatory requirements or specific legal requirements are cited. The use of the word “should” in the FDA guidance means that something is suggested or recommended, but it is not mandatory.


In the rule, the following topics are mentioned:

  • Biosecurity.

  • Control of people coming in and out of the facilities.

  • Cleaning.

  • Disinfection.

  • Sanitization.

  • Pest control.

  • Environmental sampling and detection of Salmonella.

  • Salmonella prevention plans.

  • Sampling of eggs.

  • Records showing compliance with the items above.


The final Egg Safety Rule for egg safety requires extensive written planning, biosecurity measures, pest control, sanitization training, record keeping, safe handling, supply chain management and environmental and product tests at FDA’s prescribed intervals considered necessary to prevent and control the Salmonella Entereditis hazard.

One part of the rule indicates that shell eggs shall remain in refrigeration throughout the entire commercialization chain.


The package shall include the following language: “Safe handling instructions: to prevent disease caused by bacteria: keep eggs refrigerated, cook eggs until yolks are firm and cook egg-containing foods thoroughly.” The UEP recommended these control measures and supported the FDA through the implementation of the safe refrigeration and handling rules.


It is very important if you wish to export eggs to Mexico to take into account the final Egg Safety Rule, to adopt and to put into practice the recommendations indicated by the FDA, since with this the process may be more agile and easy.


If you wish to know the document of the Egg Safety Rule in English, click on the following link:


If you wish to know a summary of the document Egg Safety Rule in Spanish, you may click on the following link:


United Egg Producers (UEP)


It is a US producers cooperative working on legislative, regulatory and the incidence issues affecting egg production. Since 1968, the UEP has worked under the guidance of its agriculture members to offer the best possible environment for egg farms to make progress while producing high-quality eggs.


Producers’ commitment to care for laying hens is seen through UEP certification and the voluntary participation of most commercial egg producers. With food safety as a top priority, the UEP also manages the National Egg Safety Center, a leading resource for consumers and food suppliers regarding egg production and disease prevention.

UEP Certificate


Eggs from farms certified by the UEP are marked with a guarantee stamp that hens are raised under strict care standards.


It has a track record of work with the FDA in egg safety initiatives to improve safety of US produced eggs, which includes providing comments on the final Egg Safety Rule and the guidance documents associated with it.


Key steps in this initiative include the following:

  • Creating a force against Salmonella.

  • Requesting tests through the National Poultry Improvement Plan.

  • Proposing and helping with the National Refrigeration Law.

  • Recommendation that pasteurized liquid egg products be used in foodservice and institutional markets.

  • Development of UEP’s 5-Star Total Quality Assurance Food Safety Program.


5-Star Total Quality Assurance Food Safety Program


The 5-Star Program goes beyond the requirements of the FDA’s final Egg Safety Rule, and provides egg producers an integral and trusted food safety program from the farm to the processing plant. 


The Program covers the following steps:

  • Buying chicks.

  • Biosecurity.

  • Integral pest management.

  • Cleaning and sanitization of hen houses.

  • Refrigeration.

  • Environmental and egg testing.

  • Vaccination.

  • Feed handling.

  • Traceability.

  • Lab standards.

  • Processing plant sanitization.

If you wish to learn more about the United Egg Producers and its programs, you may click on the following link:

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