Nov. 15, 2016

Making the Grade

Products & Recipes

When you buy a dozen eggs at the grocery store, you may have noticed that the carton reads “Grade A”. But we’re often asked how many grades there are, and what the standard size of an egg is in regards to nutritional information. This article will set out to answer these questions in order to give you a better idea of how the eggs on your table are produced.

In order to protect Canadian consumers and ensure that the eggs we eat are fresh, safe, and wholesome, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) requires egg producers to grade their eggs. There are three quality grades:

Grade A - a clean, healthy egg with an uncracked shell, sold in your local grocery store and in any retail market for household use

Grade B - the egg has slight deformities and/or stains, and goes to breakers for further processing and pasteurization.

Grade C - the egg has cracks, so it’s sent to egg breakers for use as egg whites, in baking, restaurants, or in products like peanut butter or mayonnaise.

When eggs arrive at our grading station, we begin the grading process. First, the eggs are gently washed and rinsed. We wash our eggs with water and mild detergents to remove dirt and possible bacteria from their shells. Then, they are “candled” – in which we shine a light on them to best examine their quality – in order to determine the condition of the shell, yolk, and white. Any eggs with blood spots, or with cracked, dirty, disfigured, or rough shells, are immediately removed. So, while Grade B and Grade C are still high quality eggs for their own purposes, if they don’t meet Grade A standards then they’ll never be sold at retail locations.

The eggs that meet Grade A standards are weighed (including the shell) to determine their size for distribution into cartons. They are then stamped with vegetable based ink for consumer, food safety, and traceability inquiries. There are four main sizes: small, medium, large, and extra large. The sizes are as follows:

EXTRA LARGE - at least 63g

LARGE - at least 56g

MEDIUM - at least 49g

SMALL - at least 42g

However, nutrition information in Canada is based on the large egg without the shell, which is a 53g serving.

The grading process is core to how we produce eggs here at Burnbrae Farms, to ensure that we can provide fresh, safe, and wholesome eggs to our customers. All of our grading stations are overseen by our own quality control people, and CFIA inspectors monitor our production. Indeed, strict guidelines are followed when it comes to the processes of grading eggs for consumers. We hope this article has provided you with a good understanding of how egg grading really works. For more information on our grading process, visit our YouTube page here , or our website here .