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Production and marketing of eggs and chicks

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Production and marketing of eggs and chicks

The EU sets out rules for marketing and transporting chicks and eggs for hatching and for incubating eggs.


Proposal of 16 November 2006 for a Council Regulation on the production and marketing of eggs for hatching and of farmyard poultry chicks.


The purpose of the proposed Regulation is to set out rules for marketing and transporting chicks and eggs for hatching, and for incubating hatching eggs.

The proposal does not cover small-scale operations, i.e. pedigree breeding and breeding establishments with less than 100 birds, and hatcheries with a capacity of less than 1 000 hatching eggs.

The establishments covered by the proposal have to register with their competent national authority, which then sends the information to the other Member States and the Commission.

Obligations as regards eggs for hatching

Operators must, among other things:

  • individually mark hatching eggs that will be used for supplying chicks;
  • transport hatching eggs in clean packs that contain eggs from only one species, one category and one type of poultry, originating in one establishment, and that bear the words "eggs for hatching " in at least one Community language;
  • refrain from using for human consumption eggs that have been withdrawn from an incubator.

In addition, every hatchery has to record certain information (dates, distinguishing number and quantities) by species, category and type, and report to the national authority each month how many hatching eggs it has incubated and how many chicks it has hatched. The Member States then forward this information to the Commission.

For exports, certain additional details can be required. Eggs may be imported only if they are marked clearly and legibly with the name of the country of origin and the words "eggs for hatching", and are presented appropriately (i.e. eggs of the same category, species and type, from the same country of origin and sender, with certain details on the packaging).

Obligations as regards chicks

Chicks have to be packed by species, type and category of poultry. Boxes may contain chicks from one hatchery only and must bear the hatchery's reference number.

Imports must also comply with these rules and be transported in boxes containing chicks from one country of origin and one sender only, and bearing certain details.

Accompanying document

Movements of hatching eggs and chicks have to be accompanied by a document showing, for each consignment, the following minimum details:

  • the name or business name and address of the establishment, and its distinguishing number (or, in the case of imports, the country of origin);
  • the number of eggs for hatching or chicks, set out by species, category and type of poultry;
  • the date of dispatch;
  • the name and address of the consignee.


The proposal seeks to consolidate and replace Regulation (EEC) No 2782/75: the change is one of form, aimed at bringing together the original regulation and subsequent amendments in one act, without altering the basic provisions.

References and procedure


Official Journal


COM(2006) 694


Consultation CNS/2006/231


Council Directive 90/539/EECof 15 October 1990 on animal health conditions governing intra-Community trade in, and imports from third countries of, poultry and hatching eggs [Official Journal L 303 of 31.10.1990].

The purpose of this Directive is to promote trade in poultry and hatching eggs within the Community by ironing out differences in animal health conditions between Member States and avoiding the spread of animal diseases.

Council Regulation (EEC) No 2771/75 of 29 October 1975 on the common organisation of the market in eggs [Official Journal L 282 of 1.11.1975]. The common market organisation (CMO) for eggs ensures stable prices and a reasonable standard of living for farmers by helping in the marketing of their produce and laying down arrangements for trade with other countries. Agricultural support, including the eggs CMO, underwent a complete overhaul with the June 2003 reform of the common agricultural policy (CAP) and the introduction of the single payment system. Eligible producers can now receive direct payments regardless of their level of production.

Last updated: 05.03.2007