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An “Egg-cellent” Business: Selling Your Backyard Eggs

Backyard poultry is growing in popularity every day as people want to connect back to their food sources and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love chickens? Some cities, like Jacksonville, have ordinances in place that allow those zoned in residential areas to own a small flock designated for egg production. But 5-10 eggs a day is a lot for a small family, so what can they do with the extras?

Student gathers eggs from chickens

FDACS Limited Poultry & Egg Operation


The Florida Department of Agriculture allows small scale poultry operations to function with much less regulation than commercial operations using the the Limited Poultry and Egg Operation Permit. Backyard owners looking to sell excess eggs can obtain one of these permits and sell bulk eggs at farmers markets, swip swaps, yard sales, and can even be sold to restaurants.

Here are the key parts of the permit:

Cost

One must obtain a Food Establishment Permit which will cost $110 a year. I’m not eggs-aggerating… that’s it!

Eggs stacked in bulk carton

Limitations
  • Limited to selling a maximum of 30 dozen eggs per week and the farm can only own 1,000 laying hens annually. 
  • Products must be sold in the state of Florida.
  • Eggs must be sold in flats or in bulk and cannot be sold in cartons. (cartons may be available for consumer to package after the sale for easier handling)
  • Eggs can be sold at roadside stands, farmers market, or direct delivery to the purchaser. Hotels, restaurants, etc. can purchase eggs if meals are sold directly to the consumer.
  • The Internet may be used to market/promote the sale of your eggs but no sales on the internet are allowed.
  • Possible limitations from your city, always check with local municipality first.

3 compartment sink

Equipment

The easiest, and cheapest, way of cleaning the eggs is to clean them by hand in your kitchen sink. If you have a 2 compartment sink you will need to add a third “compartment” for sanitizing, which can be a rubbermaid container or something similar. The first compartment will be used to wash the eggs, generally with some type of material that is generally recognized as food safe (hydrogen peroxide, bleach, or FDA approved detergents). The second compartment is to rinse the eggs with clean water, and the third is to sanitize using an approved sanitizing solution. Read about using hydrogen peroxide HERE. Find a list of products that are generally recognized as safe here & here.

You could also purchase an automatic egg washing machine if you do not wish to hand wash the eggs. There are a few different types of egg washing machines that range in cost, find some examples here: http://bit.ly/EggWashingMachine 

The type of detergent you choose to use must be generally regarded as food safe (GRAS). Check out a commercial egg washing detergent here. The use of unscented commercial dishwashing detergent is also a good economical choice. Make sure to purchase chlorine test strips to be sure your water is in the allowable limits. There are many different types of egg washing detergents/sanitizers on the market and prices vary considerably. Research must be done to see what product fits best in your operation. Stay in touch with FDACS Division of Food Safety to make sure you are using allowable products and testing correctly. (850-245-5520)

One must have a placard that is at least 7 inches x 7 inches stating “These eggs have not been graded as to quality and weight”

Eggs in Carton

Storing Eggs

Eggs must maintain a temperature of 45 degrees or less.

Eggs must be stored dry and in a clean environment.

Woman and young boy selling eggs

I know, I know, you’re shell shocked. That can’t be all it takes to start selling backyard eggs? But it is true! FDACS has made it truly simple for the small farmer to sell farm fresh eggs directly to consumers and still make a profit. There is a lot of flexibility in this permit and your operation can truly be one of a kind!

Email me, Alicia Halbritter at aliciah1221@ufl.edu to discuss how we can start your permit process today! You can also give me a call at 904-255-7450.