EU regulations covering the production and marketing of hatching eggs and checks (EMR9)

Date published: 16 March, 2016

1. The main European Community regulations on the production and marketing of hatching eggs and chicks are Council Regulation 1234/2007 and Commission Regulation 617/2008.

2. The European Communities Act applies these regulations to the United Kingdom and provides powers for secondary UK legislation on the enforcement of the regulations. This secondary legislation is contained in The Eggs and Chicks (Scotland) (No.2) Regulations

3. The requirements of these regulations in no way affect veterinary or licensing requirements which may be in force in the United Kingdom or in other countries.

4. The purpose of the regulations is to establish common standards for marketing and transporting hatching eggs and chicks throughout the Community and to enable the Commission to obtain information about chick placings for forecasts of future supplies of hatching eggs and poultry.

5. Hatcheries with a setting capacity of 1,000 eggs or more and breeding establishments with 100 or more breeding birds are required to register with RPID and to comply with the regulations detailed in this guidance.

6. Establishments with a lower setting capacity or with fewer breeding birds are not required to comply with the regulations but may do so if they wish.

7. For the purpose of these regulations chicks are classified into the following categories:

7.1 Commercial chicks of the following types:

  • 7.1.1 table chicks (chicks intended to be fattened and slaughtered before reaching sexual
  • 7.1.2 egg production chicks (chicks intended to be raised for the production of eggs for consumption)
  • 7.1.3 dual purpose chicks (chicks intended either for laying or for the table)

Note: It is understood that chicks of type 7.1.3 above are relatively unknown in the United Kingdom domestic fowl sector but they still exist in other Member States.

  • 7.2 Parent stock chicks (chicks intended to become parent stock)
  • 7.3 grandparent chicks (all chicks except commercial or parent stock chicks)

8. Three types of establishments which may exist separately or in combination are:

  • 8.1 primary breeding (production of hatching eggs for production of selected strain or other breeding stock,
    and including commercial chicks where these are also produced)
  • 8.2 multiplying (production of hatching eggs intended for commercial chick production)
  • 8.3 hatching (the incubation of hatching eggs and supply of chicks for any purpose)

9. Establishments are required to register, and individual establishments belonging to the same business must be separately registered.

Please complete the application form (EMR10) and return as soon as possible to:

The Rural Payments and Inspections Division
Eggs & Poultry Unit
B1 Spur
Saughton House
Broomhouse Drive
Edinburgh EH11 3XD

Each establishment will be given an EEC registration number which will indicate the country, region, number and type of unit, e.g. the first hatchery to be registered in Scotland was given the reference No UK-7-001-3 which indicates:

  • Country UK
  • Region 7 (Scotland)
  • No of establishment 001
  • type of establishment 3 (Hatchery)
  • a combined Primary breeding establishment (code number 1) and hatchery would have 1/3
    as the code for type of establishment. Code 2 indicates a multiplying establishment

10. Eggs which have been withdrawn from incubators (i.e. clears) are industrial eggs under the terms of the Regulations and as such cannot be used in food for human consumption or for use in the food industry.

11. The individual marking of hatching eggs may be carried out at the producer establishment which should print its EEC registration number on the eggs. The letters and figures shall be indicated in indelible black ink and be at least 2mm high and 1mm wide.

Alternatively hatching eggs may be marked with a black indelible mark which is clearly visible and at least 10mm square in area. This alternative method of marking may be carried out either at a producer establishment or at a hatchery.

Packs or containers of any type in which hatching eggs are transported shall bear the EEC registration number of the producer establishment. Only eggs for hatching marked in accordance with the methods described above may be transported or traded between Member States.

12. All boxes and containers used to move eggs intended for incubation and marked or to be marked in accordance with paragraph 11, must be marked with the producer establishment’s EEC registration number.

It should be noted that this applies to palletainers and setter trays as well as to closed packs.

13. Packages of hatching eggs must be clean, must contain exclusively eggs of the same species, of the same category and of the same type of poultry, coming from the same registered establishment and bear the words 'eggs for hatching'.

No conditions are specified for the type of packaging to be used for transporting chicks but they must contain chicks of the same species, category and type of poultry, produced by the same hatchery. The packages must bear the EEC registration number of the hatchery which produced them.

14. Each consignment of hatching eggs and chicks leaving a registered establishment must be accompanied by a document written in at least one Community language, showing at least the following details:

  • 14.1 (the name and address of the establishment)
  • 14.2 (its EEC registration number)
  • 14.3 (the number of eggs or chicks sent, classified by species, category and type of
  • 14.4 (date of despatch)
  • 14.5 (the name and address of the consignee)

15. Packages of hatching eggs or chicks intended for export to non-Member States may bear any legends required by those countries, provided that they are not likely to be confused with indications prescribed above, nor with those laid down in the Community’s regulations or marketing standards for hen eggs.

16. Hatching eggs may be imported from non-Member States provided that the country of origin and the word “hatching” appear on the egg in at least one of the Community’s languages.

The information must be clear and legible, written in indelible black ink in characters at least 3mm high. Packages of hatching eggs must contain exclusively eggs of the same species, category and type of poultry, coming from the same sender in the same country of origin.

The following particulars must also be shown on the package:

  • 16.1 (those shown on the eggs)
  • 16.2 (the species of poultry from which the eggs come)
  • 16.3 (the name and address of the sender)

Chicks imported from non-Member States must be packed according to species, category and type, and the package must bear the following information:-

  • 17.1 (species of chicks)
  • 17.2 (country of origin)
  • 17.3 (the name and address of the sender)

Hatching eggs or chicks imported from non-Member States must be accompanied by a document similar to that described in paragraph 14 above, except that the establishment’s EEC registration number must be replaced by the country of origin.

Each hatchery is required to keep one or more registers where the following particulars shall be entered by species, category and type of poultry (separate entries will be required for each batch):

  • 19.1 (the date the eggs were placed in incubation)
  • 19.2 (the number of eggs placed in incubation)
  • 19.3 (the EEC registration number of the producer establishment from which the
    eggs came)
  • 19.4 (the date the eggs hatched)
  • 19.5 (the number of chicks hatched)
  • 19.6 (the number of hatched chicks intended for actual use)
  • 19.7 (the number of eggs withdrawn from the incubator)
  • 19.8 (the identity of the buyer of any incubated eggs)

In addition, each month, all hatcheries must send to RPID details as at 19.2 and
19.6 above.

19.9 These regulations will be enforced in Scotland by RPID's Egg & Poultry unit, who will be responsible for ensuring that the regulations are being complied with.