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Where Do Eggs Belong in the Supermarket?

After going through the requirements, it is now official — we are allowed to keep chickens in St. Albert! For more information on these requirements, please contact the City of St Albert.

Our own Dr. Wilson will see your chickens if there are any health concerns. No doubt many of you are starting a new adventure of housing chickens and learning a lot about the process. Having fresh eggs is one of the perks! Here is an interesting blog on eggs!

So, where do eggs belong in the supermarket?

Depending on where you live is where your answer lies. Here in North America, there are strict regulations on egg production placement. When eggs are collected from the producer, they are first sorted into quick categories based on how they visually appear. They are then washed in water that is at least 11 degrees Celsius warmer than the eggs themselves. The eggs are sanitized in water and acidic balanced solution and then rinsed again to remove any bacteria adhering to the shell. The eggs are dried and candled. Egg candling is a process of shining a bright light through the egg to investigate the internal contents. It is the way the inspector can identify defects, for example, poor-quality yolks or tiny cracks invisible to the naked eye. The Candler can determine the grade requirement for each egg, whether it is ‘Canada Grade A Egg’ or another category. After candling, the egg is weighed to determine correct sizing, followed by packing, and finally storage before heading to the supermarket.

Now if you live in the UK or EU, the producer would not be touching those eggs. When a hen lays an egg, there is a natural coating on the egg called bloom or cuticle. This coating acts as an antibacterial film to protect the egg and seal its pores. If the egg does not get washed, then the egg does not need to be refrigerated as it is not predisposed to bacteria and can stay at room temperature. The producers are encouraged to practice clean husbandry as they cannot wash off any potential debris that may remain on the egg. There are still grading practices as there are in North America. The difference is that these farms are also inspected on a routine basis for salmonella in their birds themselves. If the flock is deemed clean, then the eggs will be safe to ship until the next year when the birds will be checked again.

If you have any questions regarding the requirements for eggs in the supermarket, please give us a call 780.458.3833.

Written by: Lindsay Fundytus, RVT

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