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Officially graded shell eggs that pass this examination and evaluation process are eligible for the grademark and may be identified as USDA Grade AA, A, or B. Eggs are sorted for color and marketed as either “white” or “brown” eggs.

Examples of the USDA grademark (shield): Question: Why do some egg cartons contain the USDA grademark (shield) on them, while others do not? Answer: Eggs in cartons that do not contain the USDA grademark (shield) are not required to meet USDA’s facility, sanitation, and labeling requirements (pdf) (7 CFR Part 56) and do not undergo the USDA grading and certification process in accordance with the U. Grade Standards, Grades, and Weight Classes for Shell Eggs (pdf) (AMS 56). On average, brown eggs are bigger in size than white eggs, due to the breed of chicken laying the eggs.

As eggs age, the yolk membranes and tissues weaken and/or moisture is absorbed from the albumen (white).

As a result, the yolk begins to flatten and the albumen becomes watery. For baking purposes, a higher quality egg (Grade AA or A) is preferred.

Eggs packed in USDA grademarked consumer packages labeled as cage free must be produced by hens housed in a building, room, or enclosed area that allows for unlimited access to food, water, and provides the freedom to roam within the area during the laying cycle.

Question: Are Free Range or Cage Free eggs nutritionally better than eggs from hens in a caged environment?

The lot number is the consecutive day of the year in which the eggs were packed into the carton, and consists of three digits, such as 042, 155, 267, etc.

Through the application of uniform grade standards, shell eggs can be classified according to a range of quality characteristics.

Question: Are eggs safe to eat after the Use By or Sell By date has expired?

Answer: The Use By or Sell By dates stamped on the end of an egg carton denotes the period of optimum egg quality.

Buyers, sellers, and consumers alike can communicate about these characteristics through a common language provided by the USDA grades. Grade AA, A, or B) is based on the factor with the lowest rating. Question: I’ve heard brown eggs are better for you than white eggs, is that true?

USDA quality grade standards for shell eggs define and measure quality in terms of the appearance and condition of the shell as well as the interior quality of the yolk and albumen (white). Only eggs processed under the supervision of a USDA grader are eligible for certification and application of the USDA grademark. However, all product in domestic commerce must meet U. Answer: Shell color does not affect the quality of the egg and is not a factor in the U. Standards, Grades, and Weight Classes for Shell Eggs (AMS 56).

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