From the time the egg is laid to the time the egg reaches your consumer, a very high standard of quality is maintained.
When eggs enter the processing facility, they are immediately placed on a conveyer belt for washing. Each egg is washed thoroughly with adequate amounts of detergent-sanitizer, and then rinsed. Dirt is removed without damaging the shells or altering the quality. After washing, eggs are also sanitized, graded, and packed. After the eggs are candled, which is the process of using light to help determine the quality of an egg, they are immediately moved to cooling facilities and ready for distribution. For retail sales, U.S. eggs are packaged for display and sale in cartons that each contain 12 eggs.
Shell and yolk color may vary. However, these variations have no effect on the quality, nutrition or cooking characteristics. The yolk color is influenced by the hen’s diet. Basic U.S. hen egg layer diets are formulated by using the highest quality yellow corn, soybean meal, alfalfa meal and vitamins. Hens fed these diets lay eggs with medium-yellow yolks.
Color of the shell is also not a measure of quality since color can vary with the breed of hens and the diet they are fed. Pigment in the outer layer of the shell will range from white to deep brown. Breeds with white feathers and white ear lobes lay white eggs. Breeds with red feathers and red ear lobes produce brown eggs.
Eggs are marketed based on grade, size and quality standards that are set and monitored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).