What to look for on an egg label
When shopping for eggs you should find lots of information on the packaging, including the egg size, best-before date, nutrition information, contact details for the producer, and the farming method.
It is compulsory for the packaging of all commercially sold eggs in New Zealand to provide information on: egg size, best-before date, nutrition information and the contact details of the producer.
A number of egg farming methods are used in New Zealand, providing a range for consumer choice, and commercial egg farmers have agreed as a whole to voluntarily label their products.
Egg size varies from about 40-80 grams per egg. These are sold by grade (4, 5, 6, 7, 8), based on a minimum size for the grade:
- Jumbo (8): 68g
- Large (7): 62g
- Standard (6): 53g
- Medium (5): 44g
- Pullet (4): 35g
- Mixed grade – a selection of different sized eggs
Choosing an egg size is usually based on preference and price, as larger eggs often cost slightly more, although some baking recipes may call for eggs of a particular size. Please see below information on the current Standards and Grades for Eggs by Food Standards Australia New Zealand:
A best-before date for eggs is compulsory, as mentioned above. Eggs refrigerated after purchase, at 4C or below, can be safely used up to the best-before date (around 35 days from being laid there will be little or no change in the egg quality) and after this date are recommended for use in baking.
Introducing Trace My Egg – the egg stamping programme
25 June 2019. The EPF is the proud to manage the nationwide egg stamping programme: ‘Trace My Egg’. Trace My Egg is a source-assurance initiative that spans the egg industry in New Zealand. It is recognisable by its 5-digit codes which are stamped onto the shells of eggs.
These codes can be used to trace eggs back to the farm they originated from simply by going to the Trace My Egg website (www.tracemyegg.co.nz) and entering the 5-digit code from the egg shell into the websites Trace It! function. The site is mobile-friendly and doesn’t require any apps or downloads to trace eggs, so you can even use it to trace their eggs in the supermarket before they buy them! All that is needed is an internet connection and an internet-capable device to access the site.
About source assurance
Voluntary for the industry and supported across all farming production methods, this robust and interactive egg stamping programme is putting control into the hands of consumers by providing ability to trace their stamped eggs right back to the farm that they came from. Source assurance is important to New Zealanders and the EPF’s Trace My Egg is the first industry-led, industry-wide source assurance programme in the primary sector in New Zealand.
What’s in a stamp?
Egg stamps contain two parts – a two-digit alpha code for easy recognition of the farm production method and a 3-digit numerical farm code which takes traceability beyond carton branding, and is used to identify the exact farm the egg was laid at and the location of that farm. All participating farms must stamp at the farm source.
How many eggs will be traceable?
To date, the farms signed up to the Trace My Egg programme collectively provide more than 70 per cent of the eggs that are supplied to New Zealand supermarkets!
Terms of participation
Participating farmers using the “Trace My Egg” stamping system have agreed to uphold strict terms and conditions, including:
- Trust: only eggs that are laid on participating farms will be stamped with the farm’s unique identification code.
- Transparency: eggs will be accurately stamped with the production method – organic, free range, barn, cage or colony.
- Traceability: each individual farm has its own unique code. Even if farmers own more than one farm, each farm still must have its own unique code.Latest News
- Read the media release (linked to MR on the site).
- The terms and conditions that egg producers must adhere to are available to download here (PDF)
Reading an egg stamp – What the letters and numbers mean