Where do eggs come from

Eggs: labeling, origin, color

Ready-made products, wrapped in colorful bowls at Easter, conceal where they come from and that they can also come from caged hens, as the type of keeping hens do not have to be specified.

For raw eggs, however, stricter labeling regulations apply in the countries of the European Union with information on the origin, keeping and freshness of the eggs.

When buying and before coloring eggs, the following guidelines should be observed:

Colorful eggs in stores

For ready-to-eat colored eggs in a cardboard box or in a plastic tray Best before date, number of pieces and Surname and Address of the provider be specified. The dyes used are also listed on the packaging. In the case of goods sold in bulk at weekly markets or in retail outlets, it is sufficient if the notice "with dye" is given on a sign next to the colored eggs. A best-before date (BBD) does not have to be marked. It is better not to buy colored eggs in stores without specifying the best-before date.

If you pay attention to animal welfare when buying eggs, you have to dye yourself, because they Laying hens does not have to be labeled for colored eggs. Nevertheless, one finds this information more and more frequently. It is worth paying attention to this optional additional information on the packaging.

Details for raw eggs

Here must be on the packaging next to the Best before date additionally the Posture in words must be specified so that customers can see whether the raw goods come from organic, free-range, floor or cage farming.

Producer code on the egg

Only the stamped one Digit code (for example 0-DE-0500081) on the tray reveals where the goods come from.

A "0" in the first place indicates the origin from organic production, a "1" stands for free range, the number "2" for floor and a "3" for cage.

Country codes reveal that next Country of origin - "DE" stands for Germany or "NL" for the Netherlands.

To the Trace the origin from the sale to the stable to be able to, the final seven-digit code on German eggs shows the respective State and the corresponding company and stable number at. "05" stands for North Rhine-Westphalia or "03" for Lower Saxony. Unpacked, sorted raw eggs - whether offered in the supermarket, health food store or on the market - must be stamped on the shell with the producer code. This is the only way to clearly identify their origin.

But beware: the producer code is always only on the egg. Not to be confused with the packing station number on the packaging - this similar code only indicates where the eggs were packed, not where the eggs were laid. It can happen that eggs are laid in the Netherlands and only end up in the carton in Germany.

Click or tap on the areas marked in red to find out more about the meaning of the individual code elements:

0 = organic production Laying hens must not be kept in cages. The stable has perches and at least a third is littered (with straw, wood chips or sand). A maximum of 6 animals per square meter may scratch in the barn. In addition, each hen has at least 4 square meters of exercise available.

1 = free range In addition to the barn with perches, nests and litter, the hens can run outside during the day. Each animal must have at least 4 square meters.

2 = barn housing At least 1 square meter of floor space must be available for 9 animals. The hens can lay their eggs in nests on several floors. At least a third of the stable is littered so that the animals can scratch the ground.

3 = cage management In Germany, laying hens may only be kept in cages with a floor area of ​​0.080 square meters per animal, a litter area, a group nest and a cage height of at least 50 centimeters until January 1st, 2026. The “designed” cages permitted under EU law with at least 0.075 square meters of cage area per hen, a laying nest, litter and perches are only permitted in Germany until 01.01.2021.

z. B.

AT= Austria
BE= Belgium
CZ= Czech. republic
DE= Germany
DK= Denmark
FR= France
NL= Netherlands
PL= Poland

01= Schleswig-Holstein
02= Hamburg
03= Lower Saxony
04= Bremen
05= North Rhine-Westphalia
06= Hessen
07= Rhineland-Palatinate
08= Baden-Württemberg
09= Bavaria
10= Saarland
11= Berlin
12= Brandenburg
13= Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
14= Saxony
15= Saxony-Anhalt
16= Thuringia

Together with the stall number, it is used to trace the origin from the sale to the stall.

Together with the company number, it is used to trace the origin from the sale to the stable.

Buy eggs without killing male chicks

In addition to 45 million female laying chicks, around 45 million male chicks of the laying hen breeds hatch every year in Germany. But these do not lay eggs themselves later and are unsuitable for fattening as chickens. Rearing takes much longer than broilers and is therefore considerably more expensive. Therefore, millions of male chicks are killed by laying hens immediately after hatching. This also applies to the brothers of the organic laying hens.

However, eggs can be bought from producers who do not kill male chicks immediately, but raise them and thus ensure their survival. However, these eggs cost a few cents more per piece because of the more complex rearing of the brother cocks.

Shelf life of self-colored eggs

The decisive factor is whether the shell is intact and whether the eggs are quenched after cooking or not. Because by pouring cold water, the hot eggs cool down quickly. A layer of air forms between the shell and the egg due to the temperature shock. This ensures that eggs can be peeled more easily. However, due to the oxygen in the air, microorganisms also penetrate the shell.

Repelled eggs with intact shells must be consumed within two weeks, even if stored in a cool place. On the other hand, the shelf life of unsquenched eggs with undamaged shells is more than four weeks.

Easter egg colors are usually harmless

Easter egg colors from the grocery store, effervescent tablets or colored pens are mostly harmless today. They are water-soluble natural and synthetic dyes that are approved for coloring foods according to the Food Act. They are the same food coloring used to make candy. Nevertheless, allergy sufferers can react to these dyes and should therefore be careful. The exact coloring agents contained in the Easter egg colors must be indicated on the packaging.

You can also use - edible - plants to color eggs yourself. Red onion peels and beetroot are suitable for red tones, or red cabbage leaves for blue tones. Cut the plant parts into small pieces and boil them. Separate the colored stock and add a little vinegar. Now you can add the eggs to the colored stock and boil hard. Sometimes it is necessary to leave the eggs in the colored stock longer in order to achieve a stronger color. White eggs are best for this. Turmeric powder can also be used to color beautiful yellow eggs. For this, two tablespoons of turmeric powder spice are put in a saucepan with water. Then boil the eggs in the yellow stock for 10 minutes.