Grading And Size Regulations

''Grading aids orderly marketing by reducing waste, confusion, and uncertainty with respect to quality values. The egg production pattern and the marketing system in the United States are such that interstate trading and shipment occur constantly and in large volume. This situation creates a need for uniform standards throughout the country so that marketing may be facilitated and the efficiency of distribution increased.''[7]

Grading is defined as the classifying of eggs by size and quality into comparable units according to established standards, which include various internal and external quality characteristics. The grading of eggs for sale is a requirement of federal and state laws. Federal laws apply for eggs in interstate commerce, whereas state laws regulate intrastate sales. Regulations also include labeling and advertising requirements relative to size and quality of the product.

Eggs are graded for size into six classes ranging from very small eggs (pee wee and small), through the midrange weights (medium and large), to the largest sizes (extra large and jumbo). Weight requirements describe the minimum weight for one dozen eggs with tolerances for individual egg weights less than the average weight for the dozen. State and federal definitions require large eggs to have minimum one-dozen weights of 24 ounces. Other sizes are in three-ounce increments above or below the definition for large eggs from 15 to 30 ounces per dozen.

Eggs are also graded for quality (AA, A, B). This involves either human candling or a combination of candling and electronic methods (cracked egg, stain/dirty, and blood spot detection). Egg characteristics considered in grading for quality include: shape, soundness and cleanliness of the shell, air cell size, yolk shape and shadow, and freedom from internal defects.

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