Most eggs sold for human consumption in the EU must be sold in accordance with marketing standards legislation. The Regulations lay down rules which apply throughout the Community for the quality and weight grading, marking, packaging, storage, transport and presentation for retail sale of eggs so that they are marketed on a fair, competitive basis. The rules ensure that the quality of eggs is maintained. The Regulations apply to hen eggs marketed within the Community.
The Regulations do not apply to eggs sold direct by producers to consumers for their own needs at the farm gate, or by door-to-door selling. However, these eggs must be from the producer's own hens, and none of the quality and weight grading or labelling specifications set out in the Regulations may be used.
The Scottish Government works with the egg industry to implement European Union (EU) legislation aimed at improving the traceability of eggs as a means of protecting consumers' interests. The Registration of Establishments Keeping Laying Hens (Scotland) Regulations 2003, which came into force on 31 December 2003, implement Commission Directive 2002/4/EC. These Regulations require all laying hens establishments to be registered and allocated a distinguishing number indicating farming method, Member State code and a unique identification number. Establishments with fewer than 350 laying hens and those rearing breeding laying hens do not have to be registered under the Regulations.
From 1 January 2004, Council Regulation EC/5/2001 required all class A eggs sold at retail level within the EU to be marked (stamped) with a code identifying the establishment (production site), country of origin and method of production (ie O for Organics, 1 for Free Range, 2 for Barn, or 3 for Cage). The UK supported the introduction of these rules because they help to improve consumer information, choice and assist with traceability and enforcement of the EU Egg Marketing Regulations.
For more information on Scotland's egg and poultry sector including inspections, marketing and regulations, visit the Rural Payments and Services website.