Effective Jan. 1, all eggs and egg products sold in Colorado will have to meet new standards for egg-laying hens.
“The Colorado Department of Agriculture is committed not only to the welfare of egg-laying hens, but also to fair and equitable trade of eggs and egg products as we implement this new regulatory program established through legislation,” said Mark Gallegos, Director of the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Inspection and Consumer Services Division.
In order to be fully compliant with the regulations:
- Producers will phase into fully cage-free by 2025. Starting January 1, 2023 farms (egg producers) have to demonstrate a ratio of one square foot per hen to become certified and sell eggs in Colorado.
- Farms must hire a private inspection provider to confirm their compliance, then apply for a Certificate of Compliance from the Colorado Department of Agriculture. Certification is free of charge and serves as the record of compliance that business owners selling eggs will need for them to be compliant with the Act.
- Business owners may not knowingly sell or transport eggs and egg products produced from an egg producer that is not compliant.
- The requirement applies only to shell eggs and egg products, which includes eggs and egg whites that are liquid, frozen, dried, raw, or cooked. Egg products do not include eggs combined with other ingredients, such as quiche, breakfast burritos, or cake mixes.
- For consumer transparency, Colorado compliant eggs and egg products offered for retail sale must be labeled CO-COM on their package with no letters smaller than 1/8 inch. Bulk egg shipments must be accompanied by title documents labeled CO-COM or be accompanied by a copy of the farm’s Certificate of Compliance.
- Farms with 3,000 or fewer egg-laying hens and business owners who sell fewer than 25 cases of thirty dozen shell eggs per week (750 dozen/week) are exempt from these regulatory requirements.
- More information about the program, including FAQs and application material can be found on the CDA’s website: ag.colorado.gov/eggs
Starting on Jan. 1, 2023, CDA staff will begin inspecting retailers, farms, and eggs to ensure compliance by in-state and out-of-state producers and distributors. Since this is a new regulatory program, non-compliance by egg producers and business owners will be first addressed through education about the law. CDA will work with egg producers and business owners to establish a reasonable amount of time to come into compliance with the regulation. Follow up inspections resulting in repeated noncompliance can result in enforcement action, including civil fines.
Already, 100 percent of Colorado commercial egg farms, as well as several out of state farms, are already certified compliant by Colorado. CDA will continue its outreach campaign to increase awareness of this new regulation through 2023.
Retailers, producers, and processors who have questions concerning the new regulations or require assistance with applying for a certificate of compliance can contact Julie Mizak at [email protected] for more information.
Source: Colorado Department of Agriculture