What do the numbers printed on the eggs mean?

Each egg is printed on the shell with a combination of numbers and letters that gives us information beyond its expiration date. In this way, If we know how to interpret the printed code, we will obtain information about the country of origin, as well as the way in which it has been produced.

The first digit provides information on how the laying hens are raised (caged, free-range, free-range or organic) that is associated with the degree of welfare of these animals and that is assigned a number (from 0 to 3)

Code 0: organic chickens

The codes that start with a 0 are those that come from free-range chickens (not caged) and fed on organic feed. For many people this type of breeding is carried out in the most dignified conditions for the animal and also allows supporting, if desired, organic production.

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Code 1: free-range hens

The number 1 indicates that they are free-range eggs: they are raised in the same conditions as organic because they can go outside, peck or dig in the ground, and the difference is that the feed with which they are fed is not ecological.

Code 2: hens raised on the ground

The next type of production, identified by the number 2, consists of chickens that are free on the ground but without going outside, that is to say, they are inside a ship.

Code 3: Cage Raised Hens

The hens represented with the number 3 are called cage and it is the predominant production system in many countries such as Spain and the one that raises the most criticism for the living conditions of the hens.

In 2012, the European Union approved a regulation for laying hen cages in which it prohibited individual cages, it was established that there should be space for nest, perch and to dig into which the feed is thrown, and a minimum space of 750 square cm per hen.

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And also

  • After the first digit, we find the initials of the country of origin (ES for Spain).
  • After the two letters of the country, the numbers that we find below describe the province, the municipality and the farm within that municipality where the egg was produced. There are even codes that include a letter at the end that designates the herd of chickens that gave rise to the egg within the same farm.
  • In this link you can consult the numbers assigned to each province.