- At the grading station, eggs are washed and sanitized in a high-speed washer that gently scrubs them. Their quality is then examined using a process called candling or scanning.
- In candling, the egg passes over a bright light, which makes its interior visible. This allows the grader to see the condition of the shell, the size of the air cell and whether the yolk is well-centered. Next, the eggs are divided into three grades - Grade A, B or C.
- Grade A eggs are weighed, sized by weight, packaged in cartons and stored in a refrigerated area until they are sent to retail stores and restaurants. To let you know how long the eggs will maintain their Grade A quality, egg cartons are stamped with a Best Before date, which is usually set at 42 days after grading.
- Eggs are placed in their cartons large end up to keep the air cell in place and the yolk centered.
- All the eggs in one carton may not be the exact same size, but they are within a specific weight range. Carton sizes can range from half a dozen, one dozen, one and a half dozen, all the way up to a flat of 30 eggs.
- Before the eggs are shipped to retail stores, federal inspectors take random samples for individual testing to ensure that the eggs are of high quality. Even with all of the careful washing, checking, grading and inspecting, the eggs you buy at the store usually arrive there within a week of being laid.
- Eggs are sized by weight. All of the eggs in a given carton may not be the exact same size, but they are within a specific weight range.