The USDA Grade on Egg Cartons: What Does It Mean?
January 21, 2016

You may have noticed the USDA  grade shield on egg cartons. Have you ever wondered what this logo means?

Grading of eggs is just one of the many steps that egg farmers take to ensure the safety and quality of eggs. The  USDA grade shield shows the eggs were graded for quality and checked for weight under supervision of a USDA grader. Here’s what the grades AA, A and B mean:

USDA Grade AA

Egg white is thick and firm

Yolks are high, round and practically free from defects

Clean, unbroken shells

USDA Grade A

Whites are reasonably firm

Yolks are high, round and practically free from defects

Clean, unbroken shells

USDA Grade B

Whites may be thinner

Yolks may be wider and flatter

Shells unbroken, but may show slight stains

Usually used in liquid, frozen & dried products

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USDA grading is voluntary for egg farms, and those that choose to have their eggs graded pay for this service. Egg companies that do not use USDA’s grading service are monitored by state agencies, and their carton will bear a term such as “Grade A” without the USDA shield.

In addition to grading, USDA also monitors compliance for weight and size class, based on the weight of a dozen eggs. State agencies monitor compliance for egg packers who do not voluntarily use USDA’s grading service.

When selecting eggs at the store, look for the USDA grade shield as a standard for egg quality, and follow these other tips. To keep up to date on egg safety, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. To find recipes and ideas for egg dishes, visit the Incredible Egg.