This brochure briefly describes retailers' legal obligations under the Illinois Egg and Egg Products Act. Requirements concerning packaging, labeling, rotation, repacking, record keeping, advertising, sanitation and storage are outlined in the following paragraphs. Retailers who do not comply with these and other provisions of the law are subject to monetary penalties.
Eggs must arrive at the retail outlet in new consumer-sized packages, such as 6- or 8-egg containers, or 1-, 1½- or 2½-dozen capacity cartons. Retailers may not pack loose eggs in any kind of carton.
Retailers should check to make sure each case or carton includes the following information:
- egg grade
- egg size (see below for size classes)
- name of packer
- address of packer, distributor or retailer
- packing or candling date expressed in Julian code. This consecutive numbering system assigns each day of the year a specific three-digit number. For example, Jan.1 is "001," while Dec. 31 is "365".
- expiration or "sell by" code. For Grade AA, the code must indicate a date (month and day) up to 15 days after the packing date. For all other grades, the code should represent a date up to 30 days after the date of pack.
Egg Size or Weight Classes
|size||minimum net weight per dozen|
|extra large||27 ounces|
Offering eggs for sale after their expiration date has passed is a violation of state law. Retailers are responsible for ensuring eggs offered for sale have not exceeded the expiration code marked on the carton.
Retailers may not repack eggs pulled from sale because their legal shelf life has expired. These eggs must be destroyed or returned to the supplier.
Damaged, cracked, spoiled or dirty eggs must be destroyed. They may not be sold or given away to anyone, including employees.
Documentation of Purchase
Retailers must retain invoices or copies of them at the store for 30 days after receiving a shipment. These documents must show:
- grade and size of eggs purchased
- date and quantity of purchase
- name and address of supplier
- name and address of retail outlet
Egg grade and size must be included in advertisements that state prices. Wording should not be misleading or deceptive. Claims of additional quality or special characteristics advertised on signs or displays in the store must be factual.
Sanitation and Refrigeration
Display cases and storage areas must be kept clean and sanitary. Retailers should store eggs off the floor in an area separate from chemicals, such as cleaning compounds and pesticides, and odor-imparting foods, such as onions, fish and broken eggs. Eggs on display and in storage must be refrigerated at 45 degrees or below at all times.
For more information about these and other regulations concerning the sale of eggs in Illinois, contact:
Illinois Department of Agriculture
P.O. Box 19281
Springfield, IL 62794-9281