LITTLE ROCK - Poultry and Egg production is the largest sector of our state’s largest industry, agriculture, providing more than 136,000 jobs and over $4.47 billion of the industry’s total cash receipts. Arkansas is home to eight egg facilities that produce and process more than 3 billion shell eggs annually, generating $4 million in state and local taxes and $8 million in federal taxes.
The Arkansas Agriculture Department’s Livestock and Poultry Commission works closely with the poultry and egg industry to ensure Arkansas eggs meet the highest quality standards.
The Livestock and Poultry Commission employs eight egg inspectors that inspect eggs at poultry plants, grocery and retail stores, farmers markets, and restaurants throughout the state. The USDA sets standards for egg quality but it is up to the states to uphold the standards. Arkansas’s Egg Marketing Act, which is available here, follows the USDA standards and defines specific rules for how Arkansas eggs are to be stored, packaged, and labeled for origin, size, and quality. The “grade” placed with an egg has to do with its size and overall health. Inspectors quickly learn to check for broken eggs, dirty eggs, and those with a large air cell (which you can see by holding an egg up to the light), all of which indicate poor quality.
“A person may consume thousands of eggs over a lifetime but it’s the single bad experience with an egg or egg product that they will remember,” says Egg and Poultry Division Manager Cheri Ellis. “Our investigators are trained to look for details that directly affect the quality of Arkansas eggs. Our industry remains competitive by continuing to meet the highest quality standards, and clean, sanitary plants and storage facilities for all Arkansas eggs,” she says.
Consumers can contact the Egg and Poultry Division with an egg quality question or complaint by calling 501-823-1745, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
This release is the third edition to the Twelve Days of Arkansas Agriculture campaign, which highlights some of the programs and services provided by the AAD that support our state’s agriculture industry. Follow each of the 12 stories by searching the #12DaysofARAgriculture hashtag, or visit aad.arkansas.gov. The AAD is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation.