Explanatory Leaflet on Labelling Requirements

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Explanatory Leafl et on

Labelling Requirements

Contents

Paragraph

Introduction ... 1

National Mark ... 2

Large Boxes or Packs ... 3 & 4

Small Packs ... 5

Loose Eggs Sales ... 6

Date Marking and Best Before Dates ... 7

Other dates and marking ... 8

Enquiries ... 9

Location of Regional Egg Marketing Inspectors ... 9

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs www.defra.gov.uk

National Assembly for Wales Agriculture Department

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Introduction

1. This leafl et summarises the labelling requirements of the European Community’s Egg Marketing Regulations and should be read with the explanatory leafl et (EMR 1). It is not a complete and authoritative statement of law. If you wish to know more about the egg marketing legislation you should refer to the regulations set out in paragraph 1 of leafl et EMR 1.

Registered Packing Stations:

A code indicating the producers unique identifi cation number must be printed on all Class A eggs, together with the method of production, and country of production. i) Stamping of eggs

A code showing the producer's distinguishing number and farming method is to be stamped on all Class A eggs and eggs sold at local public markets, either on farm or at the packing station. The code will comprise of the following:

Digits 0, 1, 2 or 3 to indicate production method; 0 – for organic egg production;

1 – for free-range egg production; 2 – for barn egg production; and 3 – for cage egg production.

followed by the country of production code. This is ‘UK’ for eggs produced in the United Kingdom;

followed by the individual producers registration number ‘12345’ – e.g. 1UK12345.

This information must be in legible letters and fi gures at least 2 mm high in food grade ink indellible and resistant to boiling.

National Mark

2. The United Kingdom national mark is to be shown on large pack labels as the letters ‘UK’.

Please note: all packing station numbers should begin with ‘UK’ (See paragraph 4 (a) below).

Large Boxes and Packs

3. All large boxes and packs must show, or be labelled with, a key to explain to the consumer the code printed on the eggs.

EXAMPLE: CLASS A eggs are marked with the following code: O – Organic; 1 – Free-Range; 2 – Barn; 3 – Cage; UK – Country of origin; 12345 – Unique producer ID

The above key must be clearly displayed at the point of retail sale when eggs are sold loose on trays.

4. All large boxes or packs (containing more than 36 eggs) must bear a label which cannot be re-used after the pack has been opened. Large boxes or packs may only bear information which is specifi ed in the regulations.

(a) All Class A egg labels should be White with black print (i) Labels must bear the following information:

● the UK national mark;*

*Please note: packing station numbers should no longer begin with ‘9’ (e.g. 9/2/1234) but should start with ‘UK’ (e.g. UK/2/1234). When the packing station number starts ‘UK’ there is no longer a requirement to use the ‘UK’ national mark.

● the name or business name and address of the undertaking which

has packed the eggs or had them packed;

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● the type of eggs eg: ‘eggs from caged hens’, ‘Organic’, ‘Free Range’

or ‘Barn’;

● the number of eggs packed; ● the quality grade and size;

● the Best Before date – this date must be shown for all Class A

eggs and be in numerical form; (see also paragraph 6(b)). For other grades, packing date must be shown instead of best before;

● consumer advice once purchased keep refrigerated;

● particulars as to refrigeration or method of preservation, without

coding and in Roman lettering (if appropriate).

(ii) The information on this label should be set out clearly and legibly in a similar way to either of the following illustrations:

OR *may be on the large pack instead of label

*may be on the large pack instead of label

(iii) Extra Eggs (see paragraph 8(c) page 8)

In addition, large boxes containing small packs marked ‘EXTRA’ must be marked ‘PACK CONTAINING SMALL ‘EXTRA’ PACKS’ in capital letters 2cm high. This need not be shown on the label but may be stamped direct on to the box.

(iv) Large packs may carry the following or additional information:

● the selling price;

● the retail management and/or stock control codes; ● a sell by, packing or laying date;

● particulars as to special storage conditions;

● statements designed to promote sales, provided that such

statements are not likely to mislead the purchaser. However Origin / Special Marketing Terms can only the placed on large packs if they contain small packs with such markings or, all individual eggs are marked with the appropriate term;

● See paragraph 3 for egg stamping details.

“Cascading” eggs labelling – only permitted in small packs specifi cally for “cascaded” eggs

The farming method must be clearly visible and shown on the outer surface of each pack. For example, each pack which contains eggs from caged hens must indicate ‘eggs from caged hens’ on the outer surface.

U.K. (* see 4(a)(i) above)

Name, or business name and address Packing Station Number

Eggs from caged hens Particulars of refrigeration or preservation (if appropriate) Number of eggs packed *Consumer advice:

Keep refrigerated after purchase *Egg stamping explanation see para 3

Best Befor

e

Quality

Class A Size U.K. (* see 4(a)(i) above)

Name, or business name and address Particulars of refrigeration or preservation (if appropriate) *Consumer advice:

Keep refrigerated after purchase *Egg stamping explanation see para 3

Packing Station Number Eggs from caged hens Best before

Quality Class A Size

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It is recognised that to maintain an appropriate supply balance of alternative production eggs, a small surplus needs to be produced in order to meet the demands for certain sizes in shell. Furthermore, it makes sense if the surplus could still be marketed in shell without jeopardising the price margins between the different farming methods. In which case, and because it is considered that Free-Range and Barn meet at leastat leastat least the minimum legal the minimum legal requirements for housing and welfare of Cage hens, we would accept the use of a small pack for cascading purposes.

The description on the outer surface of the pack would still require the words ‘eggs from caged hens’. However, by way of an indicator under this description i.e. ‘(see in lid for further information)’, it would draw attention, at the point of sale, to the fact that eggs from alternative farming methods could be found within. Acceptable in-lid text would be:

‘where eggs from another production system are packed, they meet the minimum legal requirements for housing and welfare of caged hens’

Individual shells, however, must be stamped with the respective farming method within the producer distinguishing number in order not to mislead the consumer.

The above is NOT permitted in large packs as the consumer cannot open and check the contents. Cascade packs must notmust notmust not be used to pack eggs only from be used to pack eggs only from caged hens; this would be misleading and as such is not permissable. (b) Eggs to go for processing: Yellow labels with black print

(i) Labels must bear the following information:

● name or trade name and address of the undertaking which

despatched the eggs;

● number or net weight of the packed eggs;

● in case of Class B eggs (including those which have been downgraded

from Class A); the mark ‘EGGS FOR THE FOOD INDUSTRY’ in black capital letters, 2cm high.

(ii) The information on the label should be set out clearly and legibly in a similar way to the illustration below:

(c) Industrial Eggs: Red labels with black print (i) Labels must bear the following information:

● the name or trade name and address of the undertaking to which

the eggs are being sent;

● the name or trade name and address of the undertaking which

despatched the eggs;

● the mark ‘INDUSTRIAL EGGS’ – in black capital letters 2 cm high

and the words ‘UNSUITABLE FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION’ in letters at least 0.8 cm high.

(ii) The label should be red, and the information should be set out clearly and legibly in black print in a similar way to the illustration below:

(d) Regraded (Downgraded) Eggs

(i) Eggs in quality Class A which no longer meet the requirements of that Class must be regraded (downgraded).

Name and address of undertaking which despatched the eggs EGGS FOR THE FOOD INDUSTRY Number or Net weight of eggs

Name and address of undertaking which despatched the eggs INDUSTRIAL EGGS

UNSUITABLE FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION Name and address of undertaking for which eggs are intended

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(ii) If the original packs are used, and they are to be delivered directly to approved food industry undertakings (i.e. breakers), they must be clearly marked to show this destination. The easiest way to do this for large packs is to replace the original labels with yellow (Class B) labels as shown in paragraph 3(b).

(e) Repacked Eggs

(i) Repacking into other large or small packs may only be carried out by a registered packing station.

(ii) When repacked, the quality declared on the labels becomes the responsibility of the registered packer who repacked the eggs. In which case it would be prudent to re-candle the eggs before repacking. (iii) Labels must bear the following information:

● the name or business name and address of the undertaking which

repacked the eggs or had them repacked;

● the registered number of the packing station which repacked the

eggs;

● the type of eggs eg: Cage eggs; ● the quality grade and size; ● the number of eggs packed;

● the original best before date for Class A eggs and below this

wording ‘repacked eggs’. For other grades instead of best before the original packing date applies;

● where appropriate, particulars of refrigeration or the method of

preservation;

● the registered number of the packing station which fi rst packed

the eggs, or, for imported eggs from non-EU countries, the country of origin.

● See paragraph 3 for egg stamping details.

The information shown on the label should be set out clearly and legibly in a similar way to the following illustrations:

OR

Name and address of undertaking which repacked the eggs and had them regraded Best Before Date

Repacked Eggs

(Particulars of refrigeration or preservation, if appropriate) *Consumer advice:

Keep refrigerated after purchase *Egg stamping explanation see para 3

Registration number of packing station which repacked the eggs

Registration number of packing station which fi rst packed the eggs or for eggs imported from outside the Community, the country of origin

Eggs from caged hens Quality Class

Size

Number of eggs packed

Name and address of undertaking which repacked the eggs or had them repacked

Registration number of packing station which repacked the eggs

Registration number of packing station which fi rst packed the eggs or for eggs imported from outside the Community, the country of origin

Particulars of refrigeration or preservation, if appropriate Eggs from caged hens Number of eggs packed

*Consumer advice: Keep refrigerated after purchase *Egg stamping explanation see para 3

*may be on the large pack instead of label

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(iv) Large boxes or packages of eggs downgraded or repacked into quality Class B should be relabelled with the appropriate quality Class B label as described in paragraphs 4(b) (i) and (ii).

(f) Imported Eggs

Large boxes or packages of eggs imported from non-EU countries must show the following information:

● the country of origin;

● the name of the packing undertaking in the non-EU country; ● the type of eggs eg: eggs from caged hens;

● the quality grade and size;

● the weight in kilogrammes and the number of eggs packed;

● for Class A eggs, the date of packing and best before, and appropriate

storage recommendation (packing date for eggs of other grades);

● the name and address of the exporter.

(g) Eggs for Export

Boxes containing eggs intended for export to non-EU countries must conform to the labelling requirements of the Community regulations. However, if the importing country has its own labelling requirements the packages may be made to comply with these, provided there is no risk of confusion with the particulars laid down by the Community regulations.

Small Packs – Wholesale and Retail Sales

5. Small packs (i.e., packs containing 36 eggs or less) even when they are in large packages, must show clearly and legibly the information shown in paragraphs 3 and 4 (a) (i).

(a) Regraded Eggs

See paragraphs 3(d) (i) and (ii) fi rst sentence. (b) Repacked Eggs

Small packs of eggs which have been repacked must show clearly and legibly the information described in paragraph 3 (e) (iii). They may also show the trade mark of the undertaking which repacked the eggs or caused them to be repacked. The special description ‘Extra’ must not be used.

(c) Retail Sales

Please note when eggs are sold at retailers the different quality, weight gradings and farming method eg: “eggs from caged hens” must be displayed clearly for the consumer. This information should be clear on the small pack (on the front leading edge or top of the pack) or it should be displayed clearly on a separate notice.

(d) Imported Eggs

Small packs of eggs imported from countries outside the EU must show either on a label or stamped direct onto the pack the following information:

● the country of origin in Roman letters at least 5 mm high; ● the name of the packing station in the third country; ● the type of eggs eg: Cage egg;

● the quality grade and size; ● the number of eggs packed;

● for Class A eggs, the date of packing and best before, and appropriate

storage recommendation (packing date for eggs of other grades). (e) Eggs for Export

Small packs of eggs intended for export to countries outside the EU must show all information required by the Community regulations, unless the importing country has its own requirements, in which case the eggs may be labelled in accordance with these.

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Loose Eggs Sales

6. Codes on eggs:

A code indicating the producers unique identifi cation number must be printed on all Class A eggs, this includes all eggs sold at local public markets. All sales of loose eggs must display a notice explaining the codes on the eggs. (see paragraph 3 above and paragraphs 4, 14 and 15 of Explanatory Leafl et EMR 1)

Sales of loose eggs may have the individual eggs stamped with the production method ‘Free Range’, ‘Barn’ or ‘Cage’. These descriptors are optional.

The codes on eggs must be in legible letters or fi gures at least 2mm high in food grade ink indellible and resistant to boiling.

To enable retailers to display the quality and weight grading, the packing station registered number, the best before date and method of production eg: eggs from caged hens, against eggs supplied unpacked, packers must provide this information on accompanying documentation. An explanation of the producer distinguishing number must also be provided together with consumer advice on storage. Please see paragraphs 3 and 4 on pages 2 and 3.

It should be noted that non-packed eggs (e.g. on open keyes trays) may only be supplied directly from registered packing stations to local retailers.

Date Marking and Best Before Dates

7. All Class A large pack labels and small packs must clearly display a best before date. How and when this should be done is explained below:

(a) Particulars of the best before date must be entered on large and small packs of eggs on the day of grading and packing, which must take place at the latest, on the second working day following the day on which the eggs are received at the packing station except in cases where:

● the eggs received by the packing station are delivered to other packing

stations not later than the working day following that of reception;

● it is intended to indicate the laying date on eggs which are supplied

by production units situated at the same site as the packing station and which are not in sealed containers in which case they shall be graded and packed on the day of laying or, if the day of laying falls on a non-working day, e.g. a Bank Holiday, on the fi rst subsequent working day.

Best Before Dates

(b) The best before date should be indicated by two sets of figures representing the day and the month in the following order:

‘Best before 0108’ (that is, for example, best before 1 August).

Please note that zeros must be used in cases where there is a single digit. Please remember when considering Best Before dates – a 28 day Best Before date is a legal maximum. Eggs should remain in Class A condition throughout their Best Before period. The internal quality of the egg is directly affected by, shell quality, the size of the egg, and the temperature at which it is stored. These factors should be taken into consideration when setting Best Before date. It is recommended that in order to retain Class A quality throughout Best Before period, you should consider these factors with a view to reducing the length of the Best Before date in certain circumstances.

(c) It should be noted that all eggs must reach the consumer within a maximum of 21 days of being laid or at least 7 days prior to the declared best before date (28 days maximum from lay) whichever is the sooner.

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Other dates and markings for Class A eggs – optional

8. (a) ‘Sell by’ and ‘Packing’ Date

‘Sell-by’ and ‘packing’ date may be indicated in addition to, not instead of, the best before date. These should be applied at the time of grading and labelling and it must be clear what is meant, e.g. ‘sell-by’, ‘to be sold by’. The sell-by date should ensure that the eggs will still be of Class A quality given a storage period of 7 days in the home after purchase. [‘Best Before’ corresponds to the end of the storage period.] Dates are to be shown in numerical form.

(b) ‘Date of lay’

Date of lay may only be indicated on eggs and egg packs where producers and packers are specially registered with DEFRA to do so. Producers and packers must keep special records and will be subject to inspection at least every two months (see Explanatory Leafl et EMR 7 for further details). Dates are to be shown in numerical form.

(c) ‘Extra’ Eggs

‘Extra’ or ‘Extra Fresh’ may only be marked on small packs in italic letters at least 1 cm high followed by a numerical date indicating either the seventh day after packing, or, if a laying date is used, the ninth day after lay and which are provided with a band or label showing the word ‘until...’. The band or label must be affi xed so that it does not obscure any of the information on the pack. The band or label must be removed and destroyed not later than the seventh day after packing or the ninth day after laying. Where the band or label cannot be removed from the pack, the pack must be removed from the sales area not later than the seventh day after packing or the ninth day after laying and the eggs repacked.

(d) Free Range, Barn, and Eggs from Caged Hens

Eggs bearing the term ‘Free Range Eggs’, ‘Barn Eggs’ or ‘Cage Eggs’, or the producer distinguishing number indicating these production types, may only be marketed where packers have obtained registration, and the production criteria set out in leafl et EMR 14 is satisfi ed. Large packs containing eggs or small packs marked with these terms must bear the same information. (e) Origin

The production origin of eggs may be shown on eggs or small packs, e.g. Devon, British, Mendip. DEFRA’s Egg Marketing Inspectorate will advise on suitable terms. Large packs containing eggs or small packs, marked with the production origin, must bear the same information. Separate records must be kept to substantiate the use of the term(s).

Enquiries

9. If you require any further information about labelling requirements or any other aspect of the EC Egg Marketing Regulations please contact the Regional Egg Marketing Inspector for your area, their names and addresses are shown overleaf.

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South & East Region Mark Jones

Defra, 1st Floor, Eastbrook, Shaftesbury Road,

Cambridge, CB2 2DR Tel: 01223 533634

E-mail: Mark.S.Jones@defra.gsi.gov.uk Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambs., Herts., Beds., Gt. London, Kent, East Sussex, Surrey, Berkshire Western Region

Jack Hainsworth

Defra, Room 1.76, Block 3, Govt. Buildings, Burghill Road, Westbury-on-Trym

Bristol BS10 6NJ Tel: 01179 591000

E-mail: Jack.Hainsworth@defra.gsi.gov.uk Cornwall, Scilly Is., Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Avon, Wilts., Hampshire, West Sussex, Gloucs., Oxfords., Bucks., Warwicks.

Northern Region John Sweeting Defra, Block 2, Wing 3 Defra, Block 2, Wing 3 Govt. Buildings, Otley Road, Govt. Buildings, Otley Road, Leeds LS16 5QT

Tel: 01132 303 986

E-mail: John.Sweeting@defra.gsi.gov.uk E-mail: John.Sweeting@defra.gsi.gov.uk Lancs., Yorks., (all), Derbys., Notts., Lancs., Yorks., (all), Derbys., Notts., Lincs., Durham, Tyne & Wear, Cumbria, Lincs., Durham, Tyne & Wear, Cumbria, Cleveland, Northumberland.

Cleveland, Northumberland. Midlands & Wales Region

Alistair Blacklock Defra, Block B,

Room 132, Woodthorne, Wergs Road, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton WV6 8TQ Tel: 01902 693145 E-mail:

Alistair.Blacklock@defra.gsi.gov.uk All of Wales, Merseyside, Cheshire, Gt. Manchester, Staffs.,

West Midlands, Shropshire, Herefords., Worcs., Northants., Leics. & Rutland.

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