EGGS are really not that topical on a Firday afternoon.

Ever wonder why we don’t refrigerate eggs in Europe, and what about those silly North Americans their refrigerated eggs?  Back in Canada, a few of my friends are egg inspectors. It always intrigues me how much fraud and regulatory presence there are in eggs.

The egg regulations cover specifically Chicken eggs, probably because it is most relevant to our daily consumption, and therefore also a major trade concern.  I mean, how often do you eat an guinea fowl egg?

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Here are a few differences from what I’ve observed between the regulations.

In Ireland  In Canada
At farm level, measures taken to detect & control salmonella at early stages.
Control the temperature of the egg stores to ensure that ambient temperature does not exceed 18°C. Storage temperatures should be below 4ºC.
Eggs are not washed because it potentially damages physical barrier, the cuticle.As per EU regulations.  Damaging the cuticle makes the shell porous. Fresh shell eggs are washed in hot water & detergent/sanitizer, then rinsed & dried
I find feathers on my eggs frequently, don’t think that’s an observable defect. Defects are noted, such as fecal matter & feathers on the outside of eggs. (associated with pathogens like salmonella)
Eggs that are unrefrigerated at store, sometimes shipped in refrigeration. Eggs are shipped & sold under refrigeration
Vaccines and antibiotics are not permitted for use under Irish regulations, if flocks are positive for salmonella, they are to be slaughtered.
This includes all types of production Organic, Free range, Barn, and caged.
Hormones are never administered under any circumstances. – Egg farmers of Canada

Decode that Stamp

You know that stamp on the egg? It actually tells you lots about where that egg has been.

In Ireland the stamp has a code that will tell you where the egg has been produced.

  • Ireland (IE)
  • Northern Ireland (UK9)

The regulatory bodies have also found imported eggs from other European countries, such as Germany (DE).

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Tracability & Quality

Only eggs produced in our country can be sold here, reason? ‘tracability’. This means that they can go back if there are any foodborne illness outbreaks and find out what & where in supply chain something has gone wrong and, identify & rectify the problem.

Is it unsafe to eat German eggs? no. We just don’t have any idea how they get here and this is, in turn, is a public health concern if there are outbreaks. Then again, being conscious of eating closer to home, and ‘shortening supply chains’, why would we want the eggs at home to travel across Europe when we can support our own farms? This is a deep-set TRADE issue, that has eventually been written into law.

All eggs in the Bord Bia Egg Quality Assurance Scheme carry the Bord Bia Quality assurance logo both on the packaging and on the egg itself.

Egg production covered in the code include flock sourcing, hygiene, disease control, flock welfare and environmental protection. There is particular emphasis on hygiene and disease control especially on the control of salmonella.

It’s a shame this has taken so long to post, but this post was spurred on by a chat with Andy from egg farmer Golden Irish. I was reminded of it I came across the Thank-you card from Odaois tented-event!

Happy Weekend!

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