Do you have a good egg?


I recently discovered that every egg (from farmers with more than 50 hens) in the EU is printed with a code that allows you to pinpoint which farm it came from, as well as if it comes from organic, free range, barn or caged hens. Excited to discover my egg-source, I typed the code into this  egg code tracker only to be disappointed by the fact that “no supplier was found”. I think it might be because my eggs are Scottish…

Apparently there are data protection issues associated with disclosing information about specific farms, but if your egg happens to be ‘British Lion’ registered, then you can find out here.

In any case, here is how you can decipher your own European egg code:

The first number

0 – Organic

1 – free range

2 – barn

3 – caged

The following letters

Indicate the country of production (DE, UK, FR, etc.). See here to decipher.

The following numbers

Tell you the farm code for the specific farm. This information isn’t public due to data protection, but if your eggs are English, you should be able to find out the geographic location of your farm here.

But what does it all mean?

3 – caged

In the EU, battery cages have been banned as of 1 January 2012. However, so-called ‘furnished cages’ are still allowed. A furnished cage must have 750 cm2 for each hen (to give you an idea, this is a bit larger than an A4 sheet of paper), including a perch, nest and littered area.

2 – barn

In the EU, barn-reared laying hens must have 1100 cm² each, which is equivalent to 9 hens per square meter (and slightly less than an A3 sheet each). Barns are not allowed to have cages in them, and must have perches and sawdust or another kind of litter for hens to scratch in.

1 – free range

Free range hens must comply with the barn regulations, as well as having continuous access to an outdoor space which has 4 m2 per hen. This space must be mostly covered with vegetation, and access-holes from the barn must be 2m per 1,000 hens (see here).

0 – organic

Organic eggs are produced under free-range standards of welfare, but allowing only 6 hens per square meter in the barn, and 4 m2 per hen outside. Hens must have nesting boxes, perches and litter. Additionally, hens must be fed 100% organic feed and be raised on organic land.


Happy eggs!


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