Rules about sell­ing eggs

Your Chickens - - Ask Our Experts -

QWe keep about 20 hens and sell sur­plus eggs to neigh­bours. I’d like to de­velop this fur­ther and asked the lo­cal shop if I could sup­ply them with free-range eggs. They said I must be reg­is­tered and the eggs have to be stamped. Have I been breaking the law? I thought only peo­ple with more than 50 chickens had to be reg­is­tered. Should I regis­ter and buy an egg stamp?

AAnne Perdeaux says: You are right in think­ing that reg­is­tra­tion with DEFRA is com­pul­sory if you keep more than 50 birds of any type – but there are sep­a­rate reg­u­la­tions for sell­ing eggs. You don’t need to regis­ter with the Egg Mar­ket­ing In­spec­torate to sell to neigh­bours, as long as eggs aren’t graded for qual­ity or weight and you have less than 350 birds. To sell at lo­cal mar­kets, reg­is­tra­tion is re­quired if more than 50 birds are kept, egg-boxes must be cor­rectly la­belled and in­di­vid­ual mar­kets may also have their own rules. When sup­ply­ing shops and restau­rants, egg-pro­duc­ers must be reg­is­tered with Egg Mar­ket­ing re­gard­less of the num­ber of hens they keep. Eggs are then graded, scanned for de­fects and weighed at an egg-pack­ing cen­tre. You can ap­ply to set up an egg-pack­ing cen­tre at home, but will need the nec­es­sary equip­ment. Reg­is­tra­tion is free. For full de­tails see www.gov.uk/ guid­ance/eggs-tradereg­u­la­tions. Eggs should not be de­scribed as ‘free-range’ or ‘or­ganic’ un­less they meet the re­quired cri­te­ria.

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