Eggs, Fruit and Vegetables
This program protects the public by providing guidelines for the inspection of eggs, fruits and vegetables for compliance with state food safety regulations. Staff also investigates consumer complaints; registers egg processors and packing facilities in the state; issues egg grader licenses for the PA Certified Egg Program and promotes proper care and handling of eggs, fruits and vegetables to ensure the highest quality food for the consumer.
Egg inspectors register and inspect egg processors and packing facilities in the commonwealth as Food Establishments under the Food Safety Act (3 Pa. C.S.A. §§ 5721-5737). Most egg processors and packers voluntarily join the Pennsylvania Egg Quality Assurance Program, or PEQAP. Egg inspectors also certify and issue egg grader licenses for the Pennsylvania Certified Egg Program.
Small Flock Producers
Many individuals with small flocks of laying hens prefer to market their own eggs. If an egg producer has less than 3,000 laying hens and sells eggs within five days from the date of lay and sells eggs predominately within a 100 mile radius of their production or processing facility, then the following summary of regulations will apply when selling eggs to the consumer.
Eggs from Small Flock Producers - (PDF)
|Size||Per Dozen||Per 30 Dozen||Individual Egg Min. Wt. on Egg Scale||Individual Egg Min. Wt. on Other Scales|
|Jumbo||30 oz||56 lb||29 oz||2.42 oz|
|Extra Large||27 oz||50.5 lb||26 oz||2.17 oz|
|Large||24 oz||45 lb||23 oz||1.92 oz|
|Medium||21 oz||39.5 lb||20 oz||1.67 oz|
|Small||18 oz||34 lb||17 oz||1.42 oz|
|Peewee||15 oz||28 lb|| || |
There are three consumer grades of eggs: Grade AA, Grade A and Grade B. In order to mark your eggs with these terms, they must meet the requirements for the marked grade.
The Federal-State Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Grading Services
To ensure that produce sold to the Pennsylvania consumer meets the same high standards, whether from a local farm or from another continent, the United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA, has developed official grade standards for fresh fruit, vegetables, tree nuts, peanuts and related commodities. These standards describe the quality requirements for each grade of a commodity. Grade standards are identified as U.S. Extra Fancy, U.S. Fancy, U.S. No. 1, U.S. No. 2 and U.S. No. 3.
Grading is divided into two main categories - the shipping point grading and terminal market grading. Most grading is conducted at the shipping point where the product is being packed for shipment to market. Product may also be graded at its destination, or terminal market, to determine its current grade.
All grading is voluntary except in those areas where producers have adopted federal or state marketing orders which establish minimum quality standards.
Shippers, Receivers, Processors, Institutional and Government Agency Buyers
Shipments of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and related products can all be graded for quality and condition at the shipping point, in terminal markets throughout the country or upon receipt by institutional or government agency buyers. Grading establishes the quality of the commodities at time of the grading service for sales purposes, to aid in determining shelf life, determining the best use of the product, establishing grower payments, or verifying compliance with contract terms or purchase specifications.
A special type of service, known as continuous inspection, is available to packers at shipping points and in terminal markets. Continuous inspection means one or more graders are assigned to a packing plant during full-time packing operations. Graders monitor plant sanitation conditions, make frequent quality checks on the commodity from the packing lines and examine samples of the packed products to determine whether they meet the U.S. grade or specification for which the commodity is being packed. The grader gives the packinghouse management oral and written reports on the quality and condition of the commodities being packed so management can take immediate steps to correct problems and protect the quality of the pack. Continuous inspection service is offered only to packers whose packing plants and facilities meet rigid sanitary requirements and are suitable for proper handling and packing operation. To receive this service, the plant and facilities must first be inspected by specially qualified USDA to determine compliance.
GAP / GHP Audits
The GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) and GHP (Good Handling Practices) Program provides direct financial support through cost sharing of applicable certification fees to producers and processors who successfully complete a USDA GAP or GHP audit. The cost share program is designed to help defray some of the costs related to a successful audit. Any business or individual located in Pennsylvania that successfully completes one initial USDA (GAP) or (GHP) audit is eligible to apply.
Requests for Fruit and Vegetable Grading Services, Market Inspections, and GAP/GHP Audits
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has terminated its Cooperative Agreement with USDA AMS. Effective April 14th, 2023, PDA will no longer conduct inspections, gradings, audits, and certification of specialty crops. The Department has determined that in the best interests of Commonwealth consumers and food industry, the Bureau of Food Safety & Laboratory Services must focus its financial and personnel resources on those food safety regulatory activities for which the Department has a statutory mandate and responsibility to protect the public health.
After April 14th, 2023, please contact the USDA AMS directly for these services.
All Audit Service requests after April 14 should be directed to email@example.com.
All shipping point inspection requests should be directed to the SCI Area office located in Hunt Valley, MD.
Hunt Valley Prof. Bldg.
9 Schilling Road Suite 213
Hunt Valley, MD 21031-8604
Michael Stevenson, Officer-in-Charge, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jarrett Dunagan, Asst. Officer-in-Charge, email@example.com
All requests for Market Inspections or Continuous Processing Grading Services should be directed to the USDA Specialty Crops Program, Specialty Crops Inspection Division.
6700 Essington Ave, Room C-101
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19153
Telephone: 215-336-0845 and 0846
Toll Free: 800-237-6401
Hours: 5:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)
800 Vinial Street, Room B403
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15212-151
Phone: 412-321-2565 and 2563
Hours: 6:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time)