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What are rules on selling eggs?

PUBLISHED: 17:58 25 April 2014 | UPDATED: 21:07 29 April 2014

Do you need a licence/permit to sell chicken eggs to local people? 

Q - Do you need a licence/permit to sell chicken eggs to local people?


Ben Nichols

A -  This is a question that I am often asked. If you have less than 50 birds on site, and sell only from the ‘production site’, in other words, where you keep your hens, OR sell door-to-door in your local area, which would cover selling directly to friends and work colleagues, then you may sell ungraded and unstamped eggs. If you have more than 50 hens, and take your eggs to a local market, you are supposed to stamp the eggs.

If you have more than 50 birds on site, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) wants you to register with them. It is nothing to do with selling eggs. This covers 50 birds or more, any mix of domestic poultry and is in case of an outbreak of Avian Flu or similar. Then DEFRA knows where you are should it feel the need to destroy your birds. That’s scary, but having lived through the 2001 outbreak of Foot and Mouth, with pigs, sheep and cattle on site, I can tell you DEFRA is serious.

Back to the eggs. If your eggs go to a Packing Centre, (very unlikely for most CS readers), or you have more than 350 layers on site, or are selling through a third party, such as a local shop or B&B, then you must register with the Egg Marketing Inspectorate (EMI).

Your inspector will make an appointment to visit, and you are on the way to becoming become a ‘packing station’. Once the inspector is satisfied, he will issue you with your own personal number and you are obliged to stamp every single egg that you sell.

To register 50 plus birds

phone DEFRA helpline: 08459 33 55 77 or email helpline@defra.gsi.gov.uk

To register with the Egg Marketing Inspectorate

In Wales: North Wales Regional Animal Health Office, Crown Buildings, Penrallt, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, Wales, LL55 1EP tel. 01286 674144

Other regions: Egg Marketing Administrative Team, Animal Health, Government Buildings, Otley Road, Lawnwood, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 5PZ. Tel. 0113 2300100


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