How and Why are Eggs Graded?


How are eggs graded? What difference does a grade make? Why do eggs get report cards? When speaking of eggs and egg labeling – what does their grade mean?

Egg inspection is a mandatory requirement by the USDA whereas egg grading is an optional step. Inspections are for egg safety and wholesomeness. Egg grading, which provides a quality ranking for the egg, is an option that can be chosen by the egg producer. If producers choose to have the eggs graded, they then have to pay the USDA for this additional grading service.

grade of eggs

How and Why are Eggs Graded?

Why Are Eggs Graded?

All eggs are inspected before they are labeled and sold in stores. If an egg producer pays the USDA for the additional quality and sanitation inspection, then they will receive a grade. They can then display this shield, as shown below, but with the appropriate grade filled into the blank space. This shield can be displayed on their carton.

grade of eggs

What are the Possible Grades for Eggs?

  • Grade AA:
    AA is the highest grade possible for an egg. These eggs contain firm whites and round yolks.

  • Grade A:
    Grade A eggs are nearly as good as grade AA. The grading scanner can detect the slight differences between these eggs and the grade AA eggs. But, these differences are so minor that humans may not notice any difference from the grade AA eggs.

  • Grade B:
    These eggs are inferior, as their grade suggests. The whites are thinner, the yolks are flatter and the shells are discolored.
    Grade B eggs are most commonly used to make liquid egg products and won’t normally be found at the grocery in their original egg form.
  • Which grade is the best choice?
    That depends. For everyday use, and the most likely choice contained on the grocery display, the best choice is grade A. If the egg is the center attraction on the plate, especially for a fine dining experience, then the best choice would be the grade AA egg. These eggs will carry a higher price tag, but not necessarily a greater value.

    How Are Eggs Graded?

    Additional Information

    Another term that you might see on your egg carton includes cage free.

    To find out how long fresh eggs last, visit our fresh egg page.

    To find out how long hard boiled eggs can be expected to last, visit our hard boiled egg page.

    To find out how long other foods are good for, please visit the Dairy, Drinks, Fruits, Grains, Proteins, Vegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or use the search function below.

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