Where do eggs for food use come from?

Where do eggs for food use come from?

In order to identify the origin of eggs, since 2004 all chicken eggs produced in the European Union must bear a code on the shell to allow traceability to the farm.

The code consists of the following letters and numbers:

  • Type of farming
    0: organic – uses hens of hardy breeds from organic farms.  Sheds used as night shelter with a density of no more than 6 hens per m². Free access to outdoor areas with a minimum area of 4 m2 per head. Very important, the feed consists of organic feed of controlled origin, mainly maize and cereals;
    1: free-range – areas like organic farming but feed must not be organic.
    2: free range – hens kept in large sheds with artificial light and a density of no more than 9 animals per m²;
    3: caged – hens are kept in metal cages with an area of 750 cm² (20% larger than an A4 sheet), 45 cm high, lit by artificial light and with a high stocking density.
  • Abbreviation of the country of origin (example: DE for Germany).
  • ISTAT code of the municipality where the farm is located (3 digits).
  • Abbreviation of the province where the breeding farm is located.
  • Code of the breeding farm.

The municipality code and the abbreviation of the province vary from country to country (in some it is an abbreviation, in others a number, etc.).

The following information must be included on the packaging:


Class B eggs, which are not considered suitable for direct consumption, do not have to be stamped, but the packs must be marked with a red band or label.


The Editorial Staff of M.A.C.