FDA relaxes rules on egg labeling to address surging retail demand

By Elaine Watson contact

- Last updated on GMT

FDA: 'We are providing temporary flexibility regarding certain packaging and labeling requirements for shell eggs'
FDA: 'We are providing temporary flexibility regarding certain packaging and labeling requirements for shell eggs'

Related tags: Eggs, coronavirus, COVID-19

The FDA is providing temporary flexibility on packaging and labeling requirements for eggs sold at retail so firms can redirect product designed for institutions and restaurants towards retailers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In guidance​ issued Friday, the FDA noted that demand for eggs in grocery stores had surged in recent weeks, adding: “Additional shell eggs for consumers are available, but appropriately labeled retail packaging is not available for all such shell eggs. 

“Some of the available eggs are in flats, which typically hold 30 eggs and are normally sold to institutions and restaurants and are not labeled.   

“To meet the increased demand … we are providing temporary flexibility regarding certain packaging and labeling requirements for shell eggs."

For retailers that wish to sell eggs in cartons or flats without labels, the FDA will not object provided the retailer displays clearly at the point of purchase (for example, on a counter card, sign, tag affixed to the product, or some other appropriate device) the following information:

  • Statement of identity
  • The name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor
  • Safe handling instructions for shell eggs that have not been processed (such as by pasteurization) to destroy all Salmonella.
  • If shell eggs from multiple suppliers are offered for sale at the same time and in the same location, it is clear to consumers which point of sale labeling applies to which of the shell eggs that are offered for sale.
  • The shell eggs are sold by the complete carton or flat
  • There are no nutrition claims at the point of purchase for the shell eggs.

According to Nielsen data (total US food, dollar sales) chicken egg sales rose 85.7% year-on-year in the week to March 21, while sales rose 29.2% in the four weeks to March 21.

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