CLASSIFYING AND GRADING SHELL EGGS
Section I. QUALITY FACTORS FOR GRADING/CLASSIFYING
a. Grading/classifying generally involves the sorting of products according to
quality, size, weight, and other factors that determine the relative value of the product.
The grading of shell eggs depends upon the classifying of the individual eggs according
to established standards. United States Standards for Quality of Individual Shell Eggs
have been developed on the basis of such interior quality factors as condition of the
white and yolk, the size and condition of the air cell, and the exterior quality factors of
cleanliness and soundness of the shell. These standards cover the entire range of
b. Eggs are also classified according to weight (or size) expressed in ounces per
dozen. Although eggs are not sold according to exact weight, they are grouped within
relatively narrow weight ranges or weight classes, the minimum weight per unit being
c. Egg grading, then, is the grouping of eggs into lots having similar
characteristics as to quality factors of the shell, air cell, yolk and white, and the weight.
d. Although color is not a factor in the US Standards and Grades, eggs are
sometimes sorted for color and sold as either "whites" or "brown." Usually, eggs that
are sorted as to color and packed separately, sell better than when sold as "mixed
e. To summarize, the quality factors considered when grading eggs are: the
shell, the air cell, the yolk, and the white. All four are of equal value, so the egg is
assigned the same quality as the lowest quality assigned to any one of the factors. For
example, an egg with an air cell, white, and yolk of A Quality but a shell factor of B
Quality is rated as a B Quality egg.
a. Standards of quality are used as a basis for establishing grades. Standards
of quality apply to the individual eggs. Grades apply to lots of eggs such as dozens,
30-dozen cases, and carloads. Shell eggs are separated by quality and weight and are
classified by the USDA as AA Quality, A Quality, and B Quality for official grades.
Additional classifications are: B* Quality, Dirty, Check, Leaker, or Loss.