Small egg farms
'Small egg farms' are those that produce no more than 20 dozen (240) eggs for sale in any week.
Small egg farms do not need to apply for a NSW Food Authority licence. However, you do need to 'notify' the Food Authority with your business details and food activities, such as selling your eggs. Even if you’re only selling your eggs from your farm gate or at the local markets, you are required to ‘notify’ your flock. There are also labelling and egg stamping requirements.
You need to keep your notification up to date if any of your details change, so it's a good idea to keep your notification reference number.
Notification records are private for each food business, so if you purchase an existing business you need to notify the Food Authority again with your details.
- online, free of charge: www.foodnotify.nsw.gov.au
If any of your details change you need to update them by contacting the NSW Food Authority at email@example.com or on 1300 552 406, option 2.
For more advice about handling eggs safely if you keep chickens in your backyard, read Backyard chickens.
Skills & knowledge
There are no formal qualifications required for small egg farms, however each food handler and person in control of a food business is required to have food safety skills and knowledge appropriate to their food handling activities.
Full requirements are set out in the Food Standards Code, Standard 3.2.2 - Food Safety Practices and General Requirements, clause 3 and the FSANZ guide Safe Food Australia.
Construction & facilities
Construction and layout of a food premise must be designed to minimise the opportunity for food contamination.
Small egg farms must ensure that their food premises, fixtures, fittings, equipment and transport vehicles are designed and constructed in a manner that means they can be easily cleaned and, where necessary, sanitised.
Businesses must also ensure that the premises are provided with the necessary services of water, waste disposal, light, ventilation, cleaning and personal hygiene facilities, storage space and access to toilets.
Hygiene & handling
A food handler must take all reasonable measures not to handle food or surfaces likely to come into contact with food in a way that is likely to compromise the safety and suitability of food.
Food businesses must ensure there are adequate facilities for food handlers to wash their hands. Hand wash facilities must be only used for washing hands, arms and face and should include warm running water, soap (or soap alternative) and single-use hand towel.
If a food handler believes they could have or be a carrier of a food borne illness they must advise their supervisor and ensure they do not handle food that they could contaminate as a result of the disease.
Food handlers must ensure all food contact surfaces are kept clean and adequately protected from contamination.
For more information see our factsheets:
Food safety controls
Food safety controls include requirements for food handling from receipt to disposal. They also includes food recall requirements.
NSW Egg Monitoring Diary
The NSW Egg Monitoring Diary has been specifically developed for all egg businesses including those who carry out processing such as crack detection, washing and grading.
In order to comply with the monitoring requirements of the Biosecurity (Salmonella Enteritidis) Control Order, all monitoring records provided in the diary must be completed and be kept for at least two years.
It is the responsibility of the licensee to ensure that this diary is completed and maintained to remain compliant with their legal requirements.
Written records allow a business to demonstrate to the relevant authority that the requirements are being complied with.
Records of product batches and supply can help if a recall is required (see below). An up-to-date list of the businesses to which products are supplied, including specifically where each product batch has gone will assist in the event of a recall.
Businesses could consider what other records of activities may help run the business as part of best practice.
A recall system is the procedure that a food business uses to ensure that food it has manufactured, imported into Australia or distributed can be retrieved from the food supply chain if that food is found to be unsafe.
Reasons for the recall could include contamination by bacteria or the presence of chemicals or foreign matter that could cause physical harm to a person consuming the food.
Food businesses should consult the Food Industry Recall Protocol for assistance with developing a recall system.
Stock feed storage
Birds being kept to produce eggs intended for sale for human consumption must not be fed any stock food that is likely to cause the eggs to be unsafe or unsuitable.
To comply, small egg farms should:
- store stock food in a manner that prevents contamination from pests and other foreign materials
- use sealed feed silos
- store feed bags off the ground
- keep feed bags sealed when not in use, and
- regularly clean feeders.
These and other requirements are set out in the Food Standards Code, Chapter 3, Standard 3.2.2, Division 3 - Food handling controls and the FSANZ guide Safe Food Australia.
Food Safety Program
No documented food safety program is required for small egg farms.
However, small egg farms do need to meet any requirements relevant to their business (below).
Requirements for product labelling apply, as set out in Food Standards Code, Chapter 1, Part 1.2 - Labelling and other Information Requirements and the FSANZ labelling user guides.
For an introduction and Food Authority factsheets see 'labelling'.
All eggs sold in NSW (unless exempt, see below) must be individually stamped with the producer's unique identifier, usually a number or code.
This helps food safety authorities trace eggs back to the farm from their point of sale. It provides a safeguard in the event of a food poisoning incident or disease outbreak.
Eggs can be stamped at the farm where they are produced or at a grading facility.
An exemption from stamping applies to small egg farmers that produce less than 20 dozen (240) eggs a week and either :
- sell those eggs direct from the farm gate,or
- use those eggs for a fundraising activity where the eggs will be cooked.
The Food Authority will supply egg farmers with a one-off free hand stamp with a pre-assigned 6-digit code consisting of 3 letters followed by 3 numbers (eg. NSW123), and 1 pack of 5 ink refills.
Small egg farms need to 'notify' the Food Authority with your business details and food activities. You can notify online, free of charge at www.foodnotify.nsw.gov.au .
Small egg farms will be provided with a free, self inking egg stamp with a pre-assigned code once their notification has been processed.
For more information on egg stamping requirements including:
- the producer identifier
- what information you need to provide to the Food Authority when commencing egg stamping operations, and
- what to do in the event of an egg stamping equipment failure
visit our egg stamping page and see the factsheets:
Testing & contaminants
No routine microbiological or chemical testing of product is required of small egg farms.
Residues & contaminants
Product needs to comply with standards for contaminants and maximum residue levels, set out in the Food Standards Code, Chapter 1, Part 1.4 Contaminants and Residues. Businesses should consider if these standards apply to their product.
Eggs in NSW must not be sold for human consumption if they have come from a bird that has been administered a veterinary chemical product in breach of the Stock Medicines Act 1989 or the Pesticides Act 1999.
Small egg farms should:
- only use pesticides and veterinary medicines that are registered for use with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), and
- use and store pesticides and veterinary medicines according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
See also our factsheet suitability of chemicals for use in food businesses (pdf)
Condition of eggs
Unpasteurised egg products
If you are a small egg farm that sells unpasteurised egg products containing at least 80% egg white or yolk or both, such as egg pulp, in NSW they must be sold only to a licensed egg business that is approved to pasteurise these products.
Sale & use of cracked eggs
Cracked eggs must not be made available for retail sale or catering purposes.
If you are a small egg farm that sells cracked eggs within NSW, they must be sold only to a licensed egg business that is licensed to further process the product.
Otherwise they need to be disposed of hygienically and away from clean intact eggs.
Sale & processing of dirty eggs
Dirty eggs must not be sold at retail for human consumption.
Dirty eggs must be either:
- cleaned so that visible faeces, soil and other matter is removed from the shell
- sold only to a licensed egg business, or
Inspections & audits
Routine audits or inspections are not required.
Small egg farms may be inspected in response to an incident or complaint.
For more see Powers of Authorised Officers.
Legislation & standards
These food businesses need to meet the requirements in the:
- Food Standards Code:
- relevant sections of Chapter 1. - General Food Standards
covers labelling substances allowed in food; microbiological limits; etc
- Standard 2.2.2 - Egg and Egg Products
covers sale of cracked or dirty eggs, unprocessed pulp; and traceability
- Standard 3.2.2 - Food Safety Practices and General Requirements
covers food handling skills & knowledge; handling controls; health & hygiene; cleaning & sanitising; etc
- Standard 3.2.3 - Food Premises and Equipment
covers new, existing, temporary, mobile & domestic premises; transport vehicles; water; waste; fixtures & fittings; hand washing facilities; toilet facilities; storage facilities; etc
- relevant sections of Chapter 1. - General Food Standards
- Food Regulation 2015, including:
- relevant sections of Part 13. Egg Food Safety Scheme, and notification of business details
- Food Act 2003:
- general requirements throughout the Act
- notification of business activities in ss 100-101, and
- may need to be inspected in response to an incident.
See our factsheet requirements for notified small egg farms.
Consultation with industry
The Minister and Food Authority consult with the egg industry over food safety and labelling regulations, practices and compliance.