U.S. eggs are primarily packaged on plastics or fiber trays that hold 30 eggs. Filled trays are then packed into cases that hold 360 eggs (30 dozen), a capacity that is universal throughout the industry and is used to transport and store shell eggs. Eggs are shipped by refrigerated trucks or in refrigerated containers aboard ocean-going vessels. Capacities of refrigerated container are as follows:
20-foot = 300 cases
40-foot = 750-800 cases
40-foot high cube = 850-900 cases
A typical retail package or small pack, as it is known overseas, is formed from pulp or foam to hold 12 shell eggs. There are other packs available in the U.S. market that can hold 6, 8 or 18 eggs. The carton controls breakage and prevents the loss of moisture and carbon dioxide. According to the mandatory federal labeling requirements, each carton must include the name and address of the packer or distributor, the net contents, identity of the product, nutritional labeling, and safe handling instructions. Each egg carton with the USDA grade shield must also display the pack date, which is the day that the eggs are washed, graded, and placed in the carton. The pack date, also known as the Julian date, is a three-digit code that represents the consecutive day of the year starting with January 1 as 001 and ending with December 31 as 365.