FDA offers answer to shortage of shell eggs

Posted: 3 April 2020 | | No comments yet

The FDA is allowing temporary flexibility for shell egg packaging and labelling sold to consumers by retail food establishments.


As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, demand for shell eggs in the US has risen. Additional shell eggs for consumers are available, but appropriately labelled retail packaging for such products is limited.  

In response to this unexpected rise in demand, a temporary policy regarding the packaging and labelling of shell eggs sold by retail food establishments to consumers has been issued by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

To facilitate the distribution of shell eggs during the pandemic, the FDA does not intend to object to the sale by retail food establishments of shell eggs in cartons or flats without labels, provided:

The retail food establishment 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; and 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 labelling 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. 

This policy is intended to remain in effect only for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency. However, as availability of packing and labelling materials improves, industry will – where practical – be expected to resume full labelling.

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