Ask The Lawyer
“Am I supposed to mark the eggs I sell by grade and size, and how do I go about learning how to do that correctly?”
Question: I raise chickens and use their eggs for personal use. If my chickens lay a lot of eggs, then I try to sell the extra ones that my family and I do not use. I’ve been selling eggs that way for a couple of years. Usually, the same people buy eggs from me. One lady that bought eggs from me said that she heard that I’m supposed to mark the eggs with their “grade” before selling them. I never heard of that before, although I know that when I go to the store I see that eggs are sold by grade and size. Am I supposed to mark the eggs I sell by grade and size and how do I go about learning how to do that correctly?
Answer: The sale of eggs in Texas is governed by the Texas Agriculture Code, Title 6, Production, Processing, and Sale of Animal Products, Subtitle A., Bees and Nonlivestock Animal Industry, Chapter 132, Eggs. The Code may also be trumped by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Federal Food and Drug Administration. Generally, eggs, which are defined by the Code as “chicken” eggs, must be inspected to determine size, grade and quality. The inspection is performed by members of the Texas Agricultural Department and means a personal examination by an enforcement officer of the department. Not every egg is inspected, but an individual, firm, corporation, cooperative, or any other type of business entity selling eggs must make their eggs available for inspection during business hours.
Generally lots of eggs are inspected in a manner that is reasonably calculated to ensure a fair representation of the entire lot or container sampled; and must be a method similar to methods prescribed for sampling by the United States Department of Agriculture. The department may enter during ordinary business hours a retail place of business where eggs are offered for sale to the ultimate consumer or a distribution center where eggs are held after being received from a packing plant and take for inspection representative samples of eggs and containers for inspection.
The chapter of the Code applies to any individual, firm, corporation, cooperative, or any other type of business entity selling eggs, except it does not apply to a person selling only eggs that are produced by the person’s own flock and for which the person does not claim a grade. In other words, a person who raises their own flock of chickens and sells their eggs “as is” does not have to comply with the inspection requirements of the Texas Agriculture Code. Eggs sold to friends and neighbors are free from inspection. No one is harmed from equipping themselves with knowledge of the laws and requirements for any activity they undertake. For instance, eggs sold for public consumption must be kept refrigerated in a temperature of no more that 45 degrees Fahrenheit once the eggs leave the initial place of production. A person who sells their own home grown eggs should comply with those rules that ensure a safe product whenever possible.
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