The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) provides regulatory oversight and guidance to shell egg producers to ensure they meet federal and state regulations. Most Minnesota producers selling eggs from their own flock do not need a food handler's license and operate on a small enough scale that they also do not need to have their facility inspected. These producers must still follow state regulations for handling, labeling, and storage to provide a wholesome, quality product to Minnesota customers. Producers with more than 3,000 laying fowl are subject to the USDA Shell Egg Surveillance program.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Producers selling a product of their own farm or garden are generally excluded from licensing. If you plan to sell eggs to food facilities or to consumers away from the premises of your farm, you are asked to register with the MDA. You must also meet certain requirements described in Minnesota statutes concerning poultry and eggs and Minnesota poultry and eggs rules. Basic compliance with these requirements includes the following:
- Cleaning: The eggs must be cleaned by approved methods.
- Candling and Grading: All eggs must be candled and graded.
- Refrigeration: Eggs must be refrigerated at 45 degrees F or less after grading and be maintained at that temperature during storage.
- Packaging: Containers (cartons, flats, and cases) of eggs must be labeled with the following mandatory information:
- Grade and size of the eggs
- Your name, address, and zip code
- The statement: "Perishable. Keep Refrigerated."
- A pack date in Julian calendar (day of the year)
- A freshness date not to exceed 30 days from the date of pack. The freshness date must also have an explanation such as "exp...," "Best if used by...," or a similar statement.
- The safe handling instructions: "To prevent illness from bacteria: Keep eggs refrigerated, cook eggs until yolks are firm, and cook foods containing eggs thoroughly."
The requirements for selling your eggs at a farmers' market are the same as they would be if you were selling eggs to a food facility such as a restaurant or grocery store. Refer to the answer for the above question.
Egg sales made directly to the consumer from the farm are permitted. If you are selling eggs from your own flock, you are excluded from licensing and are exempt from inspection as long as you have fewer than 3,000 layers.
Eggs must be clean and free of debris prior to sale. Dry cleaning with an abrasive material such as sandpaper is generally recommended. Wet cleaning using rags, sponges, or other devices to scrub or wipe by hand is prohibited. Any washing equipment used must meet Minnesota rules for cleaning eggs.
Egg cartons may be reused for selling eggs. The cartons must be clean and maintained in a sanitary manner. You must apply the required labeling information to the cartons and cover or cross out any claims or label information not pertaining to the eggs in the carton.
You may sell eggs from any domesticated fowl, including chicken, turkey, duck, goose, and other species.