Jurisdiction: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (FDACS) Division of Food Safety
Additionally, if you plan to sell eggs for human consumption and your flock size is more than 3,000 layers or you plan to sell eggs wholesale, you will fall under the jurisdiction and regulations of the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service
Florida Food Safety Act ( Florida Statutes Chapter 500 ), an annual food permit is required to process food for direct sale to consumers. The annual food permit, which is issued to the facility, allows individuals to process and sell multiple food products, including eggs. All eggs for human consumption must be processed in a permitted facility.
Form entitled DACS-14221, Form/Request for Initial Inspection and Food Permit Application will need to be completed. This form can be obtained here.
The permit category for processing eggs is Shelled Egg Processor and currently costs $490 per year. If your annual gross food sales are less than $15,000 per year, you can apply for a food permit under the Limited Sales category, which reduces the cost of the permit to $130 per year.
Additionally, if eggs are to be sold at off-farm locations, such as farmers markets, a mobile vendor permit also is required. The fee for the Mobile Vendor Limited Sales category is $130 per year. The green market/farmers market guidelines have now been incorporated into the mobile vendor guide.
To receive an annual food permit, an individual must successfully complete the Food Protection Manager Certification Program.. Food manager is defined as the person responsible for all aspects of the operation at a food establishment regulated by FDACS under the Florida Food Safety Act. All food establishments, including mobile vendors permitted by FDACS, must have a certified food manager. Certification costs will usually run $110 to $160.
Selling Eggs Directly to Consumer
- Sold in open flats only
- Labelled not washed or candled ( if not done in a permitted facility )
- Graded eggs must be candled to check for the quality of the shell as well as the yolk and white inside. There must be no cracks anywhere on the shell. The air cell at the top of the egg must be no larger than 1/8th of an inch to be AA quality. The eggs must also be weighed according to the following specifications for the weight a dozen:
- Jumbo 30 oz. or more
- Ex. Large 27 oz.
- Large 24 oz.
- Medium 21 oz.
- Small 18 oz.
Ungraded or unclassified eggs can be sold to the public, but not in dozen containers. They must be sold on flats and be identified as unclassified by a sign or placard displayed with the eggs. An acceptable placard is attached above for your convenience.
This in an exceprt from Cognito Farm’s PDF on Egg Labelling…
Here is a quick lesson in eggs labels:
Regular eggs: They are from caged hens – each one gets less than an 8.5 x 11 square inch space and generally shares the cage with 6 or so other hens. They are in a tremendously large warehouse with thousands of other chickens. They can’t spread their wings. They are usually de-beaked.
There usually aren’t any roosters in the warehouse. They are eating non-organic feed.
Cage-free eggs: The chickens are in a tremendously large warehouse with thousands of other chickens. They have access to nest boxes and food. They can stretch their wings. They are usually de-beaked. There usually aren’t any roosters in the warehouse. They are eating non- organic feed.
Organic eggs: The chickens are in a tremendously large warehouse with thousands of other chickens. They have access to nest boxes and food. They can stretch their wings. They are usually de-beaked. There usually aren’t any roosters in the warehouse. They are eating organic feed.
Free-range: The chickens are in a tremendously large warehouse with thousands of other chickens. They have access to nest boxes and food. They can stretch their wings. They are usually de- beaked. There usually aren’t any roosters in the warehouse. They are eating non-organic (or organic – if labeled « organic free-range ») feed. There is a little door in the tremendously-large warehouse that gives them « access to the outside » – « outside » is not defined by the government. It can be a cement slab. The amount of time the chickens must spend outside is not defined.
Chickens will not wander far from their food and water, and rarely will one be brave enough to leave the flock to use the little door. « Free-range » is a joke.
Pastured (this definition hasn’t been approved by the government – they haven’t « created it »…yet): The chickens spend all day outside on fresh pasture. Their nesting boxes, food, water and roosting bars are mobile so that the entire operation can be moved to fresh pasture. Both Mother Earth News and Prevention Magazine have had articles about the difference between conventional and pastured eggs. They found that pastured eggs are superior in nutritional content. I don’t know how other farms do it, but Cognito Farm hens are not de-beaked, they have access to the ground where they can take dust baths, they have roosters who guard them, keep general order among the hens and help them find the roosts at night. Natural mating behavior happens all day long. They are able to express their full chickeness – except setting a clutch of eggs. Most of the setting has been bred out of chickens, but occasionally one decides to go broody and we just take the eggs out from under her. Eventually (within a few days) she gives up and decides to express herself by foraging, and hanging with the others.
One more thing:
The government allows egg processors to « store eggs in cold storage » for up to 30 days. The date of pack is the date they came out of cold storage – and can be as many as 30 days from lay. Or the expiration date can be 45 days from the « pack date ». So, an egg in the store with a 45 day expiration could have been sitting in cold storage for 30 days before being packed.