NC State Extension Publications

Introduction

This publication is targeted toward small producers who may be contemplating entering into egg sales at some level. This group may include individuals who will be producing eggs for restaurants, small retail grocers, farmers markets, or direct on-farm sales. The following sections are direct citations of the “North Carolina Egg Law,” including brief interpretations of the meaning within each section if deemed necessary. This is not a legally binding interpretation, and further questions or clarification requests should always be directed to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) Food and Drug Protection Division.

North Carolina Egg Law

North Carolina Egg Law
NC General Statutes
Chapter 106 Article 25A
§ 106 245.13 through § 106 245.29

(1965, c. 1138, s. 1.)

§ 106-245.13. Short title; scope; rule of construction.
This Article, the North Carolina Egg Law, relates to eggs sold in the State of North Carolina and is regulated by NCDA&CS Food and Drug Protection Division.

§ 106-245.14. Definitions.
There are a number of words, terms, and phrases that are used in the writing of the North Carolina Egg Law that are defined very well in the law at the following web address: http://www.ncagr.gov/fooddrug/food/egglaw.htm

§ 106-245.15. Designation of grade and class on containers required; conformity with designation; exemption.
No person shall market to consumers, institutional consumers or retailers or expose for that purpose any eggs unless there is clearly designated therewith on the container the grade and size or weight class established in accordance with the provisions of this Article and such eggs shall conform to the designated grade and size or weight class (except when sold on contract to a United States governmental agency); provided, however, a producer marketing eggs of his own production shall be exempt from this section when such marketing occurs on the premises where the eggs are produced, processed, or when ungraded sales do not exceed 30 dozen per week. (1955, c. 213, s. 7; 1965, c. 1138, s. 1; 1973, c. 739, s. 1.)

Designation of Grade and Class on Containers; Exemption

Grade shall be made by candling, and size/weight class must be clearly designated on the container for eggs to be sold to consumers, institutional consumers, or retailers

  • Exemptions are provided under the following conditions:
    • Producers marketing their own eggs from the premises of where eggs are produced or processed; or
    • Ungraded sales do not exceed 30 dozen eggs per week;
    • Eggs eligible for sale without grading should be labeled “Ungraded Eggs.”

Repackaging of Eggs (see NCAC 09O .0103)

It shall be unlawful to offer for sale any repackaged eggs at any retail outlet.

  • Exemption:
    • Eggs sold directly by the producer to the consumer.
§ 106-245.16. Standards, grades and weight classes.
The Board of Agriculture shall establish and promulgate such standards of quality, grades and weight classes for eggs sold or offered for sale in this State as will protect the consumer and the institutional consumer from eggs which are injurious or likely to be injurious to health by reason of the condition of the shell, or contents thereof, or by reason of the manner in which eggs are processed, handled, shipped, stored, displayed, sold or offered for sale. Such standards of quality, grades and weight classes as are promulgated and established by the Board shall also promote honesty and fair dealings in the poultry industry. Such standards, grades and weight classes may be modified or altered by the Board whenever it deems it necessary. (1955, c. 213, s. 9; 1965, c. 1138, s. 1; 1969, c. 139, s. 1.)

Standards of Quality, Grades, and Weight Classes

The standards for eggs sold in North Carolina were established to promote honesty and fair dealings in the industry. These standards also protect the consumer from practices that may compromise the safety of the egg for human consumption, and therefore compromise the health of individuals, due to the condition of the shell or contents or due to the manner of processing, handling, shipping, storage, display, or marketing.

§ 106-245.17. Stop-sale orders.
If an authorized representative of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall determine, after inspection, that any lot of eggs is in violation of this Article, he may issue a "stop-sale order" as to such lot or lots of eggs and forthwith notify the owner or custodian of such eggs. Such order shall specify the reason for its issuance. A stop-sale order shall prohibit the further marketing of the eggs subject to it until such eggs are released by the State agency. (1965, c. 1138, s. 1; 1997-261, s. 109.)

Stop-sale orders are placed on shell eggs under the following circumstances:

  • The standards of quality, grades, and weight classes for the eggs being sold appear to be in violation of fair dealings.
  • The eggs have been compromised in some way that puts the health of individuals at stake due to the condition of the shell or contents, or due to the manner of processing, handling, shipping, storage, display, or marketing.
§ 106-245.18. Container labeling.
(a) Any container or sub-container in which eggs are marketed shall bear on the outside portion of the container, but not be limited to, the following:

(1) The applicable consumer grade provided for in this Article.

(2) The applicable size or weight class provided for in this Article.

(3) The word "eggs."

(4) The numerical count of the contents.

(5) The name and address of the packer or distributor. Words and numerals used to designate the grade and size shall be in clearly legible bold-faced type at least three-eighths inch in height. Any person intending to reuse a container shall obscure any inappropriate labeling thereon and relabel the container in accordance with this section prior to refilling the container with eggs. In any case, the address of the packer or distributor shall be shown in letters not exceeding three-eighths inch in height. [See §106-245.20 Advertisements.]

(b) The term "fresh" may only be applied to eggs conforming to the specifications for Grade A or better. No other descriptive term other than applicable grade and size may be applied. (1965, c. 1138, s. 1; 1973, c. 739, s. 2.)

Container labels must include the following information:

  • Applicable consumer grade and egg size or weight class
  • What is in the carton—“Eggs” (these eggs must be from a chicken)
  • Numerical count of the eggs in the container
  • Name and address of packer/distributor
  • Previous packer information must be obscured and/or relabeled on reused containers (otherwise, the carton is inappropriately labeled)
  • “Fresh” means Grade A or better (AA). This means no bloods, meatspots, misshapen shells, or dirts would be permitted except as allowed by USDA grade standards.
§ 106-245.19. Invoices.
(a) Any person, except a producer marketing eggs to another person for candling and grading, when marketing eggs to a retailer, institutional consumer, or other person shall furnish to the purchaser at the time of delivery an invoice showing date of sale, name and address of the seller, name of purchaser, quantity, grade and size-weight classification.

(b) A copy of such invoice shall be kept on file by both the person selling and the purchaser at their respective places of business for a period of at least 30 days. (1955, c. 213, s. 7; 1965, c. 1138, s. 1.)

Invoice Requirements

  • Any person marketing eggs to a retailer, institution or other person must provide an invoice with the following information:
    • Date of sale
    • Name and address of seller
    • Name of purchaser
    • Quantity
    • Grade
    • Size/weight classification
  • Sellers and buyers should maintain invoices on file for 30 days.
  • An exemption exists for a producer selling to another for candling and grading only.
  • Eggs eligible for sale without grading should be labeled “Ungraded Eggs.”
§ 106-245.20. Advertisements.
No person shall advertise eggs for sale at a given price unless the unabbreviated grade or quality and size-weight are conspicuously designated in block letters at least half as high as the tallest letter in the word "eggs" or the tallest figure in the price, whichever is larger. The provisions of this section shall not apply to retailers who (i) display egg prices in the same manner as other products sold by the retailer at the retail establishment, excluding any items on sale or subject to a promotion, and (ii) comply with G.S. 106-245.15. (1955, c. 213, s. 7; 1965, c. 1138, s. 1; 2013-265, s. 11.)

If eggs are advertised for sale with a specified price, the grade (quality) and size must be designated in large, conspicuous letters.

§ 106-245.21. Rules and regulations.
The North Carolina Board of Agriculture is authorized to make and amend, from time to time, such rules and regulations as may be necessary to administer and enforce the provisions of this Article. Such rules and regulations shall be published and copies thereof made available to interested parties upon request therefor. (1955, c. 213, s. 8; 1965, c. 1138, s. 1.)

§ 106-245.22. Sanitation.
(a) Any person engaged in the marketing of or the processing of eggs for marketing shall, in addition to maintaining egghandling facilities in a manner commensurate with laws governing food establishments, keep the eggs in a proper environment, in accordance with regulations promulgated by the North Carolina Board of Agriculture, to maintain quality. In addition, any container, including the packaging material therein, when used for the marketing of eggs shall be clean, unbroken and free from foreign odor. In all instances eggs shall, so far as possible and by use of all reasonable means, be protected from being soiled or dirtied by foreign matter. When cleaning is necessary a sanitary method approved by the Commissioner shall be employed.

(b) Repealed by Session Laws 1973, c. 739, s. 3. (1965, c. 1138, s. 1; 1973, c. 739, s. 3.)

Egg handling facilities must ensure the following sanitation standards are upheld:

  • Facilities shall be maintained equal to food establishments, and eggs shall be kept in proper environments to preserve quality.
  • Packaging material and containers must be clean, unbroken, and free from foreign odor to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Protect eggs from foreign matter by all reasonable means.
  • Use a sanitary method of cleaning, if needed.
§ 106-245.23. Power of Commissioner.
The Commissioner, or his authorized agents or representatives, may enter, during the regular business hours, any establishment or facility where eggs are bought, stored, offered for sale, or processed, in order to inspect and examine eggs, egg containers, and the premises, and to examine the records of such establishments or facilities relating thereto. (1955, c. 213, s. 10; 1965, c. 1138, s. 1.)

Authorized agents can take the following actions:

  • Enter to inspect and examine eggs, egg containers, the premises, and records.
  • Enter any establishment or facility where eggs are bought, stored, processed, or offered for sale.
§ 106-245.24. Penalties for violations; enjoining violations; venue.
(a) Any person who violates any provision of this Article shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

(b) In addition to the criminal penalties provided for above, the Commissioner of Agriculture may apply by equity to a court of competent jurisdiction, and such court shall have jurisdiction and for cause shown to grant temporary or permanent injunction, or both, restraining any person from violating, or continuing to violate, any provisions of this Article.

(c) Any proceeding for a violation of this Article may be brought in the county where the violator resides, has a place of business or principal office or where the act or omission or part thereof complained of occurred. (1955, c. 213, s. 12; 1965, c. 1138, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, s. 750; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)

Individuals who violate this Article can be prosecuted under a Class 3 misdemeanor and/or for criminal penalties and injunctions to prevent further violations.

§ 106-245.25. Warnings in lieu of criminal prosecutions.
Nothing in this Article shall be construed as requiring the Commissioner to report for criminal prosecution violations of this Article whenever he believes that the public interest will be adequately served and compliance with the Article obtained by a suitable written notice or warning. (1965, c. 1138, s. 1.)

§ 106-245.26. Remedies cumulative.
Each remedy provided in this Article shall be in addition to and not exclusive of any other remedy provided for in this Article. (1965, c. 1138, s. 1.)

§ 106-245.27. Persons punishable as principals.
(a) Whoever commits any act prohibited by any section of this Article or aids, abets, induces, or procures its commission, is punishable as a principal.

(b) Whoever causes an act to be done which if directly performed by him or another would be a violation of the provisions of this Article, is punishable as a principal. (1965, c. 1138, s. 1.)

§ 106-245.28. Act of agent as that of principal.
In construing and enforcing the provisions of this Article, the act, omission, or failure, of any agent, officer or other person acting for or employed by an individual, association, partnership, corporation, or firm, within the scope of his employment or office shall be deemed to be the act, omission, or failure to [of] the individual, association, partnership, corporation, or firm as well as that of the person. (1965, c. 1138, s. 1.)

§ 106-245.29. Reserved.
This and subsequent sections reserved for modifications to the Act.

Other Regulations

NCAC 09O .0103

(c) Cracked or checked eggs may be sold by producers or processors to a consumer for his or her personal use, except an institutional consumer as defined in G.S. 106-245.14. Said sales shall be made only at the premises of production or processing.

(d) Cracked or checked eggs may also be sold to a processing plant by a producer or processor for further processing.

(e) It shall be unlawful for cracked or checked eggs to be displayed, sold, or offered for sale in a retail outlet except as permitted by 02 NCAC 09O .0101(4) and Paragraph (a) of this Rule.

NCAC 09O .0104 (b)

[E]ggs shall be held or transported at a refrigerated ambient temperature of 45 degrees F. or less without freezing, until sold to the consumer or used in food preparation.

Author:

Extension Specialist (Comm Eggs & Pullet Rearing)
Poultry Science

Publication date: Feb. 10, 2015
AG-802

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