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Labelling requirements for shell eggs

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Overview

For the purposes of this web page, shell eggs include only eggs of domestic chickens (of the species Gallus domesticus) that are graded in a grading station operated by a license holder (unless otherwise noted).

This section summarizes the labelling requirements that apply to imported shell eggs, as well as those that are produced, treated, graded, packaged or labelled in Canada for interprovincial trade and for export. In some cases, the labelling requirements would also apply when these are intraprovincially traded.

Shell eggs are subject to the provisions of the:

When sold intraprovincially, shell eggs are subject to the labelling requirements under the FDA and FDR, as well as specific requirements of the SFCA and SFCR that apply to prepackaged foods sold in Canada, regardless of the level of trade. Provincial regulations may also have labelling requirements that apply when these are sold within that province.

The labelling requirements detailed in the following section are specific to shell eggs. Refer to the Industry Labelling Tool for additional core labelling and voluntary claims and statements requirements that apply to all prepackaged foods.

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

Common name

The common name "Eggs" / "Oeufs" is required to be stated on the label of prepackaged shell eggs. The common name must be shown on the principal display panel of the egg container [B.01.006(1), FDR; 218(1)(a), SFCR].

For more information, including manner of declaring, refer to Common name.

Net quantity (count)

Every container of prepackaged shell eggs must be labelled with the net quantity. The declaration of net quantity must be shown:

The declaration of net quantity on prepackaged shell eggs is by numerical count, in accordance with the document incorporated by reference entitled Units of Measurement for the Net Quantity Declaration of Certain Foods [231, 244, SFCR]. The quantity can be either displayed numerically or the words can be written out (for example, "12" or "one dozen").

For more information, refer to Net quantity.

Name and principal place of business

The label of prepackaged shell eggs must include the name and principal place of business of the person by or for whom the food was manufactured, prepared, produced, stored, packaged or labelled on any part of the label other than the bottom of the container [218(1)(b), SFCR].

The name 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).

For more information, including manner of declaring, please refer to Name and principal place of business.

Date marking and storage instructions

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 (for example, clear plastic cartons).

Storage information (for example, "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 FDR apply only to prepackaged foods.

For more information, including manner of declaring, refer to Date markings and storage instructions.

Nutrition labelling

Nutrition Facts table

The serving size is based on the edible portion of the food as sold and is the amount of food that 1 adult would reasonably eat at 1 eating occasion. The Table of Reference Amounts for Food provides instructions on how to determine and declare the serving size for a variety of categories of food, including the category "Eggs and egg substitutes". For example, the serving size for shell eggs is always based on 2 eggs followed by the weight in grams (for example, 2 eggs (106 g)).

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

The country of origin is required on all labels of imported prepackaged shell eggs and must be declared as "Product of" and "produit de", followed by the name of the country of origin [256(1), SFCR].

The manner of declaring is as follows:

The location and minimum type size requirements of the country of origin on a shell egg container
Tray with an overwrap or an egg carton Container, other than a tray with an overwrap or an egg carton
Location Top or side of tray or egg carton [256(2)(a), SFCR] Any part of the label other than solely on the bottom of the container [245(2) and (3), SFCR]
Minimum type size 1.5 mm in height [256(2)(a), SFCR] 6 mm in height [256(2)(b), SFCR]

Note: In the SFCR, country of origin is referred to as foreign state of origin.

Grade name

Please note that all references to the "Compendium" in this section refer to the Canadian Grade Compendium.

The grade names and grade requirements for shell eggs are set out in Volume 5 of the Compendium, while those for imported shell eggs are set out in Volume 9.

All shell eggs that are interprovincially traded, imported or exported must be graded, must meet grade requirements set out in the Compendium and must also be labelled with the applicable grade name [306(1), SFCR].

There are 4 Canadian grade names for shell eggs [2, Compendium, Volume 5 – Eggs]. These are:

Volume 9 of the Canadian Grade Compendium outlines the import grade requirements. Item 2 of the Table of Import Grade Names for Imported Food specifies the Canadian and import grade names for shell eggs. If imported eggs meet the requirements of the Compendium for the applicable Canadian grade name in column 2 of the table, they must be labelled with the corresponding import grade name in column 3 [1(1), Compendium, Volume 9 – Import Grade Requirements]. The import grade names for shell eggs are:

Please note however that when imported eggs are graded by a licence holder, a Canadian grade name must be used rather than an import grade name [1(2), Compendium, Volume 9 – Import Grade Requirements].

Refer to Import, removal and interprovincial trade of shell eggs for guidance on conditions for the movement of some types of eggs, such as Canada C, Grade C, Canada Nest Run, Grade Nest Run, and surplus Canada A or Canada B eggs.

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
Tray with an overwrap or an egg carton Container, other than a tray with an overwrap or an egg carton
Location On the top of the tray or egg carton [314(1)(a), SFCR] In a central location on the container, except the top or bottom [314(1)(b), SFCR]
Minimum type size
  • For Canada A and Canada B, the word "Canada": 1.5 mm in height; and the grade letter "A"or "B": 3 mm in height [315(a), SFCR]
  • For Canada C and Canada Nest Run: 1.5 mm in height [315(b), SFCR]
  • For Canada A and Canada B, the word "Canada": 6 mm in height; and the grade letter "A" or "B": 13 mm in height [315(c), SFCR]
  • For Canada C and Canada Nest Run: 13 mm in height [315(d), SFCR]
Exception No grade name required when packaged inside a second container, if the grade name is shown on the second container and the second container is sent to an establishment in which a licence holder is authorized to grade, package, and label eggs [314(2), SFCR]. The grade name is not required on a second container if the grade name on the packages within is easily visible and legible without opening the second container [314(3), SFCR].

When eggs are graded Canada A or Canada B, this grade name must be shown inside the outline of a maple leaf, as per the images below [3(1), Compendium, Volume 5 – Eggs]:

Canada A maple leaf
Image description – CANADA A

Outline of a maple leaf with the following text written and centered inside: the word CANADA in upper case bold text, and below that, the letter A in upper case outlined text. The text CANADA A is the bilingual grade name of the egg.

Canada B maple leaf
Image description – CANADA B

Outline of a maple leaf with the following text written and centered inside: the word CANADA in uppercase bold text, and below that, the letter B in uppercase outlined text. The text CANADA B is the bilingual grade name of the egg.

When applied to prepackaged Canada C or Canada Nest Run eggs, the grade name is simply shown in upper case letters with no maple leaf outline [3(1), Compendium, Volume 5 – Eggs].

See Grades for more information.

Size designation

Please note that all references to the "Compendium" in this section refer to the Canadian Grade Compendium.

Eggs that are graded Canada A must be labelled with any applicable size designation that is set out in Volume 5 of the Compendium. The size designation must be shown in both official languages [205(3)(a), 316, SFCR].

The 6 size designations are listed in the table below [5, Compendium, Volume 5 – Eggs]:

The different size designations for shell egg in both official languages
English French Egg weight
Jumbo Size Calibre Jumbo Not less than 70 g
Extra Large Size Calibre Extra gros Not less than 63 g
Large Size Calibre Gros Not less than 56 g
Medium Size Calibre Moyen Not less than 49 g
Small Size Calibre Petit Not less than 42 g
Peewee Size Calibre Très petit Less than 42 g

This size designation must be marked as follows:

The location and minimum type size requirements of the size designation on a shell egg container
Tray with an overwrap or an egg carton Container, other than a tray with an overwrap or an egg carton
Location Close proximity to the grade name [316, SFCR] Close proximity to the grade name [316, SFCR]
Minimum type size 3 mm in height [3(2)(a), Compendium, Volume 5] 13 mm in height [3(2)(b), Compendium, Volume 5]

Multiple size designation: In the case of prepackaged eggs graded Canada A, more than one size designation may be shown on the container, other than a tray with an overwrap or a carton, if the size designation of the eggs in the container is clearly shown on the container [5(3), Compendium, Volume 5 – Eggs].

Lot code

For information on the requirement for a lot code or other unique identifier for traceability purposes, consult Traceability-specific labelling requirements.

Please note that recommendations have been made regarding the use of potentially misleading lot codes. For additional information, please refer to the Lot code section on the Date markings and storage instructions page.

As well, refer to Legibility requirements for other specific labelling topics for information on the legibility requirements that are applicable to lot codes.

Other required markings

Rejects

Ungraded shell eggs that are received at a licence holder's establishment to be graded and that do not meet the requirements for any grade set out in Volume 5 of the Canadian Grade Compendium must be rejected. The rejected eggs must be destroyed or placed in a container that is labelled with the word "Rejects" and "rejetés" [333, SFCR].

Pasteurized eggs

A licence holder may pasteurize eggs in the shell only if they are graded Canada A or Grade A. Pasteurized eggs that are imported must have been graded A before pasteurization [95, SFCR]. Refer to Pasteurization of eggs in the shell for more information.

The words "Pasteurized" and "pasteurisé", as well as the expression "Graded Canada A Before Pasteurization" and "classifié Canada A avant pasteurization" or "Graded Grade A Before Pasteurization" and "classifié catégorie A avant pasteurisation" must appear in both official languages on the label of eggs when they have been pasteurized in their shell [205(2), 254, SFCR].

The word "classé" may be used in the place of "classifié" on the label [204, SFCR].

Ungraded eggs

In order for ungraded eggs to be imported or shipped interprovincially, they must be labelled appropriately. The words "Ungraded Eggs" / "oeufs non classifiés" must appear on the label of the container [98(1)(b), 99(1)(d), 99(3)(a), SFCR].

The word "classé" may be used in the place of "classifié" on the label [204, SFCR].

For additional information on movement of ungraded eggs, refer to Import, removal and interprovincial trade of shell eggs.

Voluntary claims and statements

Nutrient content claims

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 that 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

"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 the licence holder grades their own eggs on-farm 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 FDA, 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 (for example, 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

Consumer prepackaged
Consumer prepackaged, in respect of a food, means packaged in a container in the manner in which the food is ordinarily sold to or used or purchased by an individual — or in which the food may reasonably be expected to be obtained by an individual — without being repackaged, to be used for non-commercial purposes [1, SFCR].
Container
An outer receptacle or covering that is used in connection with a food. It includes a wrapper and a confining band but does not include a conveyance or any container that is an integral part of a conveyance [1, SFCR].
Egg
An egg of a domestic chicken of the species Gallus domesticus. It does not include a balut [1, SFCR].
Egg carton
A package that is capable of being closed and of containing not more than 30 eggs in separate compartments [1, SFCR].
Foreign state
Foreign state includes a WTO Member as defined in subsection 2(1) of the World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation Act [1, SFCR].
Grade name

Under the SFCA, grade name means a prescribed name, mark or designation of a food commodity [2, SFCA].

The SFCR further specify that, for the purposes of this definition, the grade names that are set out in the Compendium and in the Grades Document are prescribed in respect of foods [305, SFCR]

Person

Person means an individual or an organization as defined in section 2 of the Criminal Code [2, FDA; 2, SFCA].

A person may therefore be an individual or an organization, and may include a consumer, a manufacturer, a retailer, an importer, a restaurant, any other commercial or industrial enterprise, an institution such as a school or hospital, and anyone else who sells, uses, or buys a food.

Prepackaged
Prepackaged, in respect of a food, means packaged in a container in the manner in which the food is ordinarily sold to or used or purchased by a person, and includes consumer prepackaged [1, SFCR].
Tray
In respect of eggs, means a package, other than an egg carton, that is capable of containing not more than 30 eggs in separate compartments [1, SFCR].
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