Know Your Eggs

With so many options, it's easy to get confused. The good news? All eggs are simply delicious and good for you. 

Have you wondered where your eggs come from? Check out this video from Egg Farmers of Canada to learn more about the Journey of an Egg.

Less than 10 years ago, when consumers took a trip to the local grocery store, the eggs on display varied in choices of white or brown and in sizes of small, medium or large. When visiting a display of eggs today, it is clear that a significant change has taken place in B.C.’s egg industry. Today’s exhibit offers multiple categories of egg classes such as free range, free run, organic and omega-enhanced, as well as the traditional white or brown egg. Processed product, which is marketed as “liquid” eggs, with or without yolks, provides another option for today’s consumer. To keep up with these changing conditions, today's B.C. farmers are market-responsive and willing to develop new farming systems to keep up with consumer demand while also improving the environment and the well-being of their hens. Embracing these changes has brought farming full circle to traditional practices that enhance hen health and improve consumer safety.   

In our role to support consumers and our farmers, BC Egg continues to utilize innovation, creativity and leadership to drive the evolution of B.C.’s egg industry. Our consumers now have more choices than ever when they want to eat BC Fresh Eggs. The majority of eggs produced in B.C. are the classic white eggs laid by hens raised in a conventional cage system. BC egg farmers also raise hens in other flock management systems that specify housing and feed requirements. These eggs are called Specialty Eggs. All B.C. produced eggs meet the highest standards for cleanliness, quality, and freshness.

Where Do Your BC Fresh Eggs Come From?

For most BC egg farmers, farming is about family - and for many this means carrying on a family tradition of ensuring eggs are produced to the highest standards of cleanliness, quality, and freshness. 

In addition to responsible hen care, registered egg farmers recognize their role in providing a safe and nutritious food that the public can trust.  

Yup, We're From Around Here

At registered B.C. egg farms, eggs are collected daily, then placed in a cooler room. Producer-Graders are egg farmers that are federally-licensed to grade and market their own eggs. Otherwise, the eggs are picked up from the farm by refrigerated trucks and taken to a federally-licenced egg grading station, where they are refrigerated before and after grading. Eggs are usually washed, graded, and packed into cartons within 24 hours of arrival. Refrigerated trucks deliver the eggs to retail stores soon after grading. B.C. eggs typically arrive at the store within 4-7 days of being laid by hens. Now that’s fresh!

How Are The Eggs Farmed?

In B.C., about 75% of eggs are produced by hens that are housed in a conventional cage system. This hygienic housing system separates the hens and eggs from their waste. This allows for easy monitoring of the hens' health, and results in high food safety and vastly reduces the need for veterinary intervention. Conventional systems ensure that the hens are comfortable by providing nutritious feed, clean water, and fresh air. Hens are also protected from predators.

Breaking Stations

Approximately 18% of all egg production in B.C. is sent to the breaking plant in Abbotsford to be made into liquid, frozen, or dried egg products. Once the refrigerated eggs are received from the grading station, the eggs are sent to special machines that break the eggs by the thousands. If required, egg yolks can be separated from the egg whites. Whole or separated, the eggs are then pasteurized and sent in bulk form to bakeries, restaurants and food manufacturing customers who use them in their products. Egg products are also used in pharmaceuticals and in non-food products such as shampoo, pet foods, and adhesives. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) sets operating and food safety regulations for breaking plants and CFIA inspectors are present in the breaking plant to ensure that these regulations are met.

Grading Stations

Grading stations pick up eggs from the farm, wash and grade the eggs, and pack them into cartons or flats for sale to the retailer and foodservice industries, and to hospitals and other institutions. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) sets the standards for grading and sizing eggs. The CFIA also sets operating and food safety regulations for all graders, establishes standards for the three categories of egg grades, and conducts inspections to ensure that these standards are met. Eggs may be picked up from the egg farm by one of the four larger federally-licensed egg grading stations located in Abbotsford, Westholme (north of Duncan) on Vancouver Island, Kamloops, or Terrace.

The grading process begins by washing and sanitizing the eggs as they pass through a high speed tunnel washer. The eggs are candled by passing them over a strong light to make the interior of the egg visible. The grader determines the grade of the eggs by checking the condition of the shell, the size of the air cell, and whether the yolk is well-centered.