In the United States, eggs are moved directly from the hen houses on conveyors into the processing equipment (inline) or by crates (off-line) from older houses or from other farms. The eggs are then washed and dried. External defects (cracks, dirt, weak or abnormal shell) or internal defects (meat or blood spots) are removed by candling equipment, which is now almost fully automated. The eggs are then weighed, separated according to weight groups, packaged, and sent to cold storage. Later, refrigerated vehicles distribute them. In the EU and their followers, shell eggs are not washed. Eggs that have any contact with water are sent to a breaking operation. Furthermore, the EU does not refrigerate their eggs. As a result, products from one processing system cannot be sold legally in a country using the other system.
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