We have a small flock of eight laying hens that are providing more eggs than we can use. Are there any rules or regulations we need to comply with to sell these eggs to the public? Stuart Kidd, Slough, Berkshire

Jane Howorth says:

It is easy to build up more eggs than you can use, and selling the excess is something many people do. As long as you keep less than 50 hens, the few regulations are easy to follow, and while you may not be retiring on the proceeds from eight hens, the extra revenue can certainly help offset the cost of equipment and feed.

Selling your own eggs is classified as ‘Farm Gate Sales’, and buyers must know where the eggs have come from, and who has sold them. This can be done by sticking a label on the egg box with your name and address, or by handing over a flyer with every box. The label or flyer should state that eggs should be stored refrigerated (although, you specifically should NOT refrigerate the eggs before you sell them), and be marked with a best before date which is not more than 28 days after the date they were laid.

You can only sell your eggs ungraded, so you must not describe them as “Large” or make references to their quality, nor are you able to make claims such as organic or free range, unless you are officially registered as such, but it is fine to describe them as “fresh eggs”.

While your eggs should not be washed (because the shell is porous), they must be clean and not have any staining or faecal matter contamination, and be free of shell irregularities or cracks.

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