Not all eggs are the same. At the time of purchase, therefore, it is very important to know what the numbers that you find printed on the shells or directly on the packaging mean, since freshness is not the only parameter to be taken into consideration.
HOW TO READ THE TRACEABILITY CODE
By law, all eggs must have a numerical code that looks like this:
0 IT 045 TO 001
What do these numbers represent?
- The first number (0 in the example above) indicates the type of breeding (we will see below how this number should be interpreted)
- IT indicates the country of origin (in this case, Italy)
- The third numeric block (045) is the ISTAT code of the municipality of production
- We therefore find the province of production (TO = Turin)
- The last three digits (001) represent the name and location of the farm where the hen laid the egg
Immediately below this code, the expiry date or, alternatively, the egg laying date, which identifies the freshness or otherwise of the product, is reported.
HOW THE TYPES OF BREEDING ARE CLASSIFIED
The way in which the hen is raised determines both the state of health of the animal itself and the quality or otherwise of the egg. That’s why not all eggs are the same, regardless of whether they’re fresh or not.
There are 4 classifications, from 0 to 3, where:
- 0 indicates organic farmsi: the hens are free to roam in open ground and have all the space they want. They are the best quality eggs that are sold on the market at slightly higher costs than the others.
- 1 indicates outdoor farms: the hens are raised outdoors, but in a limited space.
- 2 free-range farming: the hens live in large closed sheds without ever seeing the light of the sun. They are not, however, locked in a cage.
- 3 cage farming: the hens are locked in cages inside huge structures where no one has freedom of movement
The eggs are then classified according to their freshness. I’m from category A fresh ones intended for consumption. The eggs of B category, on the other hand, second quality denominations are those that are sold to the food industry.
Fresh eggs must have very precise characteristics, easily recognizable even with the naked eye:
- Shell and cuticle: normal, clean, intact
- Egg white: clear, limpid, with a gelatinous consistency, free from foreign bodies of any kind
- Yolk: visible to candling only as shading, without apparent outline, which does not significantly move away from the center of the egg in the event of its rotation, free from foreign bodies of any kind
- Germ: imperceptible development
- Smell: absence of extraneous odors