Labelling Requirements for Shell Egg Products

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Table of Contents

Overview

For the purposes of this webpage, shell eggs include only chicken eggs (of the species Gallus domesticus) that are graded in a federally registered grading station (unless otherwise noted).

The labelling requirements of the Egg Regulations (ER) that are summarized in this document apply to shell eggs produced in federally registered establishments, as well as to imported eggs. When sold in Canada, shell eggs are also subject to the labelling requirements under the Food and Drugs Act (FDA) and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (CPLA).

Shell eggs destined for intraprovincial trade are subject to the labelling requirements under the FDA and the CPLA. These are summarized in the core labelling, claims and statements, and food-specific labelling requirement pages of the Industry Labelling Tool. Provincial regulations may also apply to products sold within that province.

The requirements detailed in the following sections are specific to shell egg products. They are in addition to the core labelling and other requirements that apply to all prepackaged foods.

Please note that some requirements only apply to some types of containers.

Common Name – Shell Egg

The common names "Eggs" and "Oeufs" are required to be stated on the label of a shell egg container (definition) [14(1)(a), ER] as follows:

The location and minimum type size requirements of the common names on a shell egg container
For cartons and trays with an overwrap For boxes, cases and pallets with loose eggs
Location On the top panel [21(1), ER] On one of four sides [19(1)(a), ER].
Minimum type size 3 mm [21(2)(b)(ii), ER] 13 mm [20(1)(a), ER].

For more information, refer to Common Name.

Net Quantity (Count) – Shell Egg

The net quantity of eggs is declared by count. The number of eggs in a container is required to be marked on the label [14(1)(e), ER]. The quantity can be either displayed numerically or the words can be written out (i.e. "12" or "one dozen"). The net quantity declaration must be declared on the package as follows:

The location and minimum type size requirements of the net quantity on a shell egg container
For cartons and trays with an overwrap For boxes, cases and pallets with loose eggs
Location Any outside panel other than the bottom [21(1), ER] On one of four sides [19(1)(a), ER].
Minimum type size
  • 1.5 mm [21(2)(a), ER]
  • 1.6 mm, increasing with size of principal display surface [14, CPLR]
6 mm [20(1)(c), ER].

For more information, refer to Net Quantity.

Identity and Principal Place of Business – Shell Egg

The Identity and Principal Place of Business of the regulated party that has produced the eggs are not required on pallets of loose eggs as these are not considered to be prepackaged products (unless they are overwrapped).

Cartons and trays with an overwrap must declare the name and address of [17(2)(a)(b), ER] :

  • The registered egg station:
    • In which the eggs were graded and packed; or
    • For which the eggs were graded and packed and
  • The wholesaler or retailer taking responsibility for the eggs packed in the carton or tray.

Boxes and cases must declare the name and address of the egg station or for which the eggs were packed [17(1)(a), ER]. The identity and principal place must be declared on the package as follows:

The location and minimum type size requirements of the Identity and Principal Place of Business on a shell egg container
For cartons and trays with an overwrap For boxes, cases and pallets with loose eggs
Location Any outside panel other than the bottom [21(1), ER] On one of four sides [19(1)(a), ER].
Minimum type size
  • 1.5 mm [21(2)(a), ER]
  • 1.6 mm [15, CPLR]
6 mm [20(1)(c), ER].

Date Marking and Storage Instructions – Shell Egg

The durable life date is required on the label of prepackaged shell eggs. This requirement is considered to be met when the information is marked on the shell of every egg, if it is clearly visible to the consumer without having to open the container (e.g. clear plastic cartons).

Storage information (e.g. "keep refrigerated") is also required on the label of prepackaged shell eggs.

Eggs sold loose in trays are not considered to be prepackaged (unless they are overwrapped). The requirements respecting durable life dates and storage information in section B.01.007 of the Food and Drug Regulations apply only to prepackaged foods - for more information, see Date Markings.

Nutrition Labelling – Shell Egg

Nutrient Values

All nutrition labelling information must accurately reflect the nutrient content of the product, and the information must remain accurate over the entire shelf life of the food.

There are various ways to generate nutrient values including the use of validated analytical methods, or by calculation using credible databases or software. The Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC) has established a Nutrient Value for Generic Canadian Egg database to assist egg station operators in generating nutrient values. These values only are permitted for use on generic egg cartons containing generic eggs; they cannot be used on egg cartons that contain eggs that have had their nutrient content modified via feed, such as eggs claiming to be a source of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Specialty eggs, such as those claiming to be a source of Omega-3 fatty acids, as well as certain other eggs, may have values that differ from those in the database. Regardless of the type of egg or the method used to generate nutrient values, the responsibility for the accuracy of nutrient values is with the regulated party.

Health Canada also maintains a database of nutrients in foods called the Canadian Nutrient File. For shell eggs, the information in this database is based on the testing performed by EFC to update their own nutrient analysis table; therefore the most current information for the nutrient content of a generic egg should be what EFC has posted.

Nutrition Facts Table (NFT)

Serving sizes must be based only on the size of the egg in the carton. For example, companies should not be using a serving size of "1 large egg (50g)" on cartons of medium or small eggs.

However, companies have flexibility in determining if they want to use one or two eggs as the serving size. The serving size should be the amount of food that one adult would reasonably eat at one eating occasion (the recommended serving size for eggs is 50-100g).

Available Display Surface of Egg Cartons

For guidance on measuring the available display surface of egg cartons, for the purposes of applying the Nutrition Facts table, refer to Available Display Surface.

Country of Origin – Shell Egg

The country of origin is required on all labels of imported shell eggs [ER, 31(1)(e)] and should appear in the following way:

The location and minimum type size requirements of the country of origin on a shell egg container
For cartons and trays with an overwrap For boxes, cases and pallets with loose eggs
Location In close proximity to the Maple Leaf when graded or repackaged in Canada, and on the front or top panel when graded in the exporting country [7.14.2.1, Shell Egg Manual]. In close proximity to the Maple Leaf when graded or repacked in Canada, and on the same side as the official grade and size designation when graded in the exporting country [7.14.2.1, Shell Egg Manual].
Minimum type size 1.5 mm [21(2)(a), ER] 6 mm [20(1)(c), ER]

The country of origin must be declared as "Product of" and "Produit de" [31(1)(e), ER].

Note that labels of shell eggs imported from USA must be registered by the USDA. For more information, see Chapter 7 of the Shell Egg Manual.

Grade Designation

The grade name must appear on the label of shell eggs [14(1)(b), ER].

The four grades of shell eggs are:

  • Canada A
  • Canada B
  • Canada C
  • Canada Nest Run [3, ER]

Canada C eggs are destined for further processing only [Schedule 1, 1(4)(c), ER].

Specifications regarding the grade name declaration are as follows:

The location and minimum type size requirements of the grade name on a shell egg container
For cartons and trays with an overwrap For boxes, cases and pallets with loose eggs
Location On the top panel [21(1), ER] On one of the four sides of the container [21(1), ER]
Minimum type size
  • For Canada A and Canada B, the word Canada: 1.5 mm; [21(2)(b)(i), ER] & the grade letter (A, B): 3 mm [21(2)(b)(ii), ER]
  • For Canada C and Canada Nest Run: 1.5 mm [21(2)(a), ER]
  • For Canada A and Canada B, the word Canada: 6 mm; [20(1)(b)(i), ER] & the grade letter (A, B): 13 mm [20(1)(b)(ii), ER]
  • For Canada C and Canada Nest Run: 13 mm [20(1)(a), ER]

The grade name must conform to the official design as indicated in Schedule II of the ER. When eggs are graded A or B, this grade name must be shown inside the outline of a maple leaf [15(1)(2), ER].

Graded eggs that are imported into Canada must be marked with the foreign grade designation equivalent to a Canadian grade [14(1)(b), ER]. A Canada grade name cannot be applied in a foreign facility, nor can a foreign grade name be applied in Canada.

Any claims declaring or implying that the eggs are superior in quality to the grade marked are prohibited [18, ER].

See Chapter 4.5 of the Shell Egg Manual for more information about grades.

Size Designation

Canada A eggs require a size designation in both official languages from the table below [14(1)(c), 16(1), ER].

The different size designations for shell egg in both official languages
English French
Jumbo Size Jumbo
Extra Large Size Extra gros
Large Size Gros
Medium Size Moyen
Small Size Petit
Peewee Size Très petit

This size designation must be marked as follows:

The location and minimum type size requirements of the size designation on a shell egg container
For cartons and trays with an overwrap For boxes, cases and pallets with loose eggs
Location Close proximity to the maple leaf [16(2), ER] Close proximity to the maple leaf [16(2), ER]
Minimum type size 3 mm [21(2)(b)(ii), ER] 13 mm [20(1)(b)(ii), ER].

Multiple Size Designation: In order to allow a supply of boxes to be used to pack the different sizes of eggs, it is permitted to have a check off system to identify the size of the eggs in the box. The size designation of the eggs inside the container must be clearly marked and the eggs must all be of that grade size [14(3), ER].

Words that are indicative of size other than the appropriate size designation are prohibited [18, ER].

Registration Number

Every container, other than a tray with an overwrap or a carton, must be marked with the registration number of the registered egg station [17(1)(a)(i)(ii), ER]:

  • In which the eggs were graded and packed;
  • For which the eggs were graded and packed.

This declaration must be on one of the four sides of the package in a minimum type size of 6 mm [20(1)(c), 19(1)(a), ER].

Producer Premises Code (PPC)

The producer premises code is required on labels of shell eggs [14(g), ER]. The PPC is a code applied to an egg container which is a combination of letters, symbols and numbers that distinguishes the premises of a producer from which the eggs originated. This declaration must be declared on the package as follows:

The location and minimum type size requirements of the producer premises code on a shell egg container
For cartons and trays with an overwrap For boxes, cases and pallets with loose eggs
Location Any outside panel other than the bottom [21(1), ER] On one of four sides [19(1)(a), ER]
Minimum type size 1.5 mm [21(2)(a), ER] 6 mm [20(1)(c), ER]

Note: The requirement to declare the PPC on the label is considered to be met when it is marked on the shell of every egg, if it is clearly visible to the consumer without having to open the container (e.g. clear plastic cartons).

Other Required Markings

Dye Mark

A dye mark may be applied to eggs that are determined to be surplus to the needs of the table market. These eggs are destined exclusively for further processing. The words "Dyed" or "Teints" must appear on containers other than trays with an overwrap or cartons, superimposed on the grade name, when the eggs have been marked with a dye mark. The minimum type size for these words is 13 mm [17(1)(b), 20(1)(a), ER].

Rejects

The words "Rejects" and "Rejetés" must appear on the label of containers of eggs that do not meet the requirements for a grade and may be disposed of or sold for animal feed or purposes other than human consumption [15(2), ER]. These words must appear on one of the four sides of the container in a minimum type size of 6 mm [19(1)(a), 20(1)(c), ER].

Pasteurized Eggs

The words "Pasteurized", "Pasteurisé", "Graded Canada A before pasteurization" and "Classé Canada A avant pasteurization" must appear on the label of eggs when they have been pasteurized in their shell [14(1)(h), ER]. This declaration must appear on the package as follows:

The location and minimum type size requirements of pasteurized eggs markings on a shell egg container
For cartons and trays with an overwrap For boxes, cases and pallets with loose eggs
Location Any outside panel other than the bottom [21(1), ER] On one of four sides [19(1)(a), ER]
Minimum type size 1.5 mm [21(2)(a), ER] 6 mm [20(1)(c), ER]

Ungraded Eggs

In order for ungraded eggs to be imported or shipped interprovincially, they must be labelled appropriately. "Ungraded eggs" or "Oeufs non classés" must appear on the label in type size of at least 13 mm [20(1)(a), 30(2), ER].

Voluntary Claims and Statements

Nutrient Content Claims – Shell Egg

Cholesterol Claims

The nutritional characteristics of eggs do not meet the conditions set out in the FDR for cholesterol claims. Refer to Nutrient Content Claims for more information about cholesterol claims.

Modified Eggs

Graders that market eggs with nutrient content has been modified through the feed are responsible for the accuracy of any declared nutrient values or nutrient content claims, including cholesterol levels. The cholesterol content of generic eggs may differ from that of eggs that have had their contents modified through the feed. For more information, refer to Nutrient Content Claims.

Other Claims – Shell Egg

"Fresh" Claims

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) position is that all eggs are fresh. Therefore, the claim "fresh" is permitted only if it appears as part of a statement such as "all eggs are fresh" or "like all eggs, these eggs are fresh". "Fresh" is allowed in advertising, however, to distinguish eggs in the shell from other physical forms of eggs such as powdered, frozen and liquid whole eggs.

"Farm Fresh" Claims

The claim "farm fresh" implies that the eggs were distributed directly from the farm to the store. This claim should only be used if a grader grades their own eggs in a registered on-farm operation and ships them directly to the store.

"Natural" Claims

CFIA's position is that all eggs are natural. Therefore, the term "natural" is permitted only if it appears as part of a statement such as "all eggs are natural" or "like all eggs, these eggs are natural".

"No Hormones" Claims

A "no hormones" claim by itself on an egg carton would be considered misleading under section 5(1) of the Food and Drugs Act, as the use of hormones is not permitted in poultry in Canada. Hormones cannot be administered in any form, including through feed or water. A "no hormones" claim can be made on an egg carton provided it is accompanied by a statement explaining that "the use of hormones is not permitted in poultry in Canada" and must be placed in close proximity to the claim. Refer to "Raised Without the Use of Added Hormones" Claims for additional information.

"No Preservatives"

CFIA's position is that "no preservatives" or similar claims are not acceptable for shell eggs as it is not possible to insert preservatives inside of an egg.

"Young Hens" Claims

Claims such as "specially selected from young hens" are permitted. Indication of what is considered young (e.g. less than X months of lay) is recommended. Claims that the eggs are young (rather than the hens) are not permitted.

"Enhanced" Claims

"Enhanced" is the term to be used when a nutrient in an egg has been increased via the feed. The terms "fortified" and "enriched" are not to be used to describe a shell egg nutrient profile because these terms are used for foods where nutrients have been added directly to the food.

For more information on the above claims, refer to Composition and Quality Claims and Method of Production.

Definitions

Box

A container made to contain 15 dozen eggs [ER, 2].

Carton

A container that is capable of being closed and that is made to contain no more than 30 eggs in separate compartments [ER, 2].

Case

A container made to contain 30 dozen eggs [ER, 2].

Container

Any case, box, tray with an overwrap, carton, or other receptacle made to contain eggs [2(1), ER].

Egg

An egg of the domestic hen [ER, 2].

Tray

A container, other than a carton, that is made to contain no more than 30 eggs in separate compartments [ER, 2].

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