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New rules satisfy small egg producers


MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- Wisconsin’s new law governing the sale of eggs unscrambles the legal issues for most small producers.

The new law now in effect makes it easier for egg producers to sell their product with fewer licensing requirements. The new Wisconsin Act 245 exempts small-scale egg producers who sell eggs directly from the farm to consumers, at farmers’ markets, and on egg sales routes, from having to acquire a food processing plant license for egg collection and packing activities. The state defines small-scale producers as having 150 birds or fewer.

Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection Food Safety Administrator Dr. Steve Ingham says there are still rules to follow. He says the eggs have to be sold directly to a consumer and not a wholesaler or distributor. Producers also have to package eggs in cartons labeled with the producer's name and address, the date the eggs were packed into the carton, a sell-by date within 30 days, and a statement indicating that the eggs in the package are ungraded and uninspected. The eggs must also be kept at 41 degrees or cooler at all times.

Ingham says the department is also reviewing egg production, sales, and handling regulations for larger producers with public hearings scheduled for rule changes later this summer.

More information on food issues is available at the Division of Food Safety by calling 608-224-4700, by e-mail at datcpfoodmailbox@wisconsin.gov; or online at datcp.wi.gov.