Q & A: General
From classic white and brown eggs to free range and free run to organic, omega-3 or vitamin D enhanced, Canadian egg farmers provide you with choices and they all have one thing in common--they are all produced to the same high standards. No matter what type of egg you choose, they all make a nutritious and delicious choice.
Regular white or brown eggs come from hens that are housed in small group settings with plenty of access to food and water.
Vitamin enhanced eggs have more of a certain nutrient (e.g. vitamin D or omega-3). Hens are fed a nutritionally-enhanced diet containing higher levels of certain nutrients that make their way from the diet of the hen into the egg.
Organic eggs come from hens raised in a free range system with access to the outdoors. Hens are fed a certified organic feed.
Furnished or enriched eggs come from hens that are housed in small group settings with amenities such as perches and a curtained off area where hens lay their eggs.
Free run eggs come from hens that roam the entire barn floor. Some of these barns may be equipped with multi-tiered aviaries.
Free range eggs come from hens that roam the barn floor and when weather permits, go outside to pasture. Outdoor access is only seasonally available in Canada.
Processed eggs are shell eggs broken by special machines and pasteurized. They are further processed and packaged in liquid, frozen or dried form.
As a hen ages, the eggs that she lays get gradually larger. However, the calcium content deposited in the shell remains the same despite the size of the egg. So, the eggshells become thinner as the hen ages.
The best before date indicates the time the eggs will maintain Grade A quality, if stored properly. It is normally 28 to 35 days from the date of packing. If you use them after that date, they are better for baking, hard-cooking or scrambling rather than poaching or frying. Learn more.
Aside from the colour of the eggshell, there is little difference between brown and white eggs. The eggshell colour depends on the breed of the hen. Generally speaking, white shell eggs come from hens with white feathers, while brown shell eggs are produced by hens with brown feathers. Nutritionally, both brown and white eggs are identical unless the feed has been enhanced for speciality eggs such as Omega-3.
Once eggs have left the farm, they go through the grading station where they are washed, candled, weighed and packed. All grading stations are registered and inspected by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Yes, it is ok. It’s rare to see as less than 1% of eggs will contain a blood spot. Normally during grading these eggs will be separated, however sometimes an egg will slip through as it’s harder to see blood spots in brown eggs.
Blood spots are caused by the rupture of a blood vessel during the formation of the egg. These tiny spots do not indicate a fertilized egg. If desired, the spot can be removed with the tip of a clean knife prior to cooking.
There are three main things that determine Grade A quality of an egg: the condition of the shell, the position of the yolk, and the size of the air cell inside the shell. If the shell has no cracks, the yolk is centered and the air cell is very small – it meets Canada Grade A standards. These are the eggs you buy at the store.
In some parts of Canada, a code is stamped onto the eggshell. This code is part of a traceability system which identifies information like the farm where the eggs comes from, the place it was graded, and the best before date.
Through programs like this, we are able to ensure Canadians have a constant supply of fresh, safe and high-quality eggs and that you continue to have confidence in the food you buy for your family.
Egg size is related to the age of the hen -- as a hen gets older, she lays larger eggs. Eggs are sorted at the grading station based on weight, not circumference, and packaged accordingly into the following sizes: pee wee, small, medium, large, extra large or jumbo. Learn more.
Yes, you can freeze eggs. First, crack the egg and remove the shell, then place the raw egg in an airtight container, and into the freezer.
If you want to freeze just the yolk, add a pinch of sugar or salt to prevent the yolks from gelling.
Eggs, like many other perishable foods, should be stored in the refrigerator until they are needed to help maintain their freshness. The lower and consistent temperature limits moisture lost through the pores of the egg shell.
This keeps the egg fresh right up to the "best before date" that's stamped on the exterior of the carton. Learn more.