The meaning of the numbers, letters and codes of the egg

If you buy eggs regularly, either in the market or at the supermarket, it is quite possible that at the time of preparing them you have noticed a series of numbers that we find engraved in the shell of the egg. Most likely, perhaps, you have thought that they really consist of a handful of unimportant numbers or codes, of little interest in reality. However, this is a very erroneous and incorrect approach, since will provide you with very important information very useful when buying eggs.

And is that in addition to the Preferential use date that appears in the shell of the egg, and that as you know is the maximum period until which its consumption is recommended since the egg will keep all its organoleptic and nutritional qualities intact, you will also find a series of digits and letters whose information is actually very valuable.

Among other aspects, these numbers or codes are useful to know the origin of the egg, its quality, as well as the Province and the municipality where is the farm producer of them.

How to read the labeling of the eggs correctly?

It is very simple. You just have to take an egg between your fingers and divide the label into several parts: the first digit tells us the way in which the hen has been raised; the next two indicate the country of origin; the next five the location of the farm; and finally, the three missing digits are useful to identify the farm by the health authorities in case of any type of food poisoning.

First digit: breeding form

This first number that appears on the label will inform us about the way in which the egg-producing hens have been reared:

  • If the digit is a 3: they are hens raised in cages specially designed to facilitate the collection of eggs, preventing them from getting dirty with their own manure. They have continuous access to water and a balanced diet, but since the chickens can not move, their beaks are cut, lighting being controlled in turn to control their productivity.
  • If the digit is a 2: they are chickens that move freely inside the chicken coop, with access to food, water, place where they lay eggs and resting areas. Unfortunately, its density tends to be very high and its mobility limited. Lighting is also controlled to maximize your productivity.
  • If the digit is a 1: they are free range chickens, which in addition to an identical chicken house that has the hens with digit 2, have outdoor pens where the hens are free to go out to dig, peck and take sand baths.
  • If the digit is a 0: they are chickens of organic production. Its chicken coop is similar to that available to free-range chickens, with the difference that they are fed with feed from organic farming.

Letters: country of origin

We usually find two letters that are those that follow the first of the digits. Indicate the country of origin of the eggs. For example, the most common is that in our country we find eggs with the letters ES (Spain), although they can also be from any other country in the European Union: for example, PT (Portugal), FR (France), DE (Germany) or IT (Italy) ...

Five following digits: province and municipality

After the first of the digits in which he informs us of the quality of the egg according to the breeding form and the two letters that indicate the country of origin we find a total of five digits that indicate us: the province (two first digits) and the municipality (three remaining digits).

Remaining digits: producing farm

To finish we find a remaining series of digits that the authorities use to identify the egg producing farm.

Image | Steve Johnson

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