Get the Scoop on Eggs: a guide to USDA egg grades, labels, and common terms. Click to see a larger version.
The holiday season is a busy time of year for bakers and chefs. From egg nog and cookie exchanges to fruit cakes and meringue pies, increased baking and gift-giving means you’ll need to know just what to look for when you buy one of your key ingredients…eggs. When shopping for eggs, consumers should look for the USDA Grade shield, for the ultimate assurance of quality. For best results for pastries and baked goods, pay attention to the freshness of your eggs.
USDA grading of shell eggs is a voluntary service paid for by shell egg producers. Eggs sold to consumers must be labeled with a grade. Eggs that are not labeled with a USDA Grade Shield have not been officially graded by USDA standards. Only eggs meeting strict USDA standards are allowed to be marketed with the USDA Grade Shield on the package. Egg packers who do not use the USDA grading service may put terms such as “Grade AA” or “Grade A” on their cartons, but they may not use the USDA Grade Shield. Read more »
Quienes están listos para una fiesta, no se imaginan enfermos en cama poco después de esta. Pero eso es lo que pudiera ocurrir si la comida en los “buffets” no es manejada y servida con inocuidad. Las bacterias son aguafiestas y el único regalo que traen es una enfermedad transmitida por los alimentos.
¿Cómo es que las bacterias arruinan las fiestas? Se “enganchan de paseo” en alimentos perecederos dejados a temperatura ambiente sin ser mantenidos fríos a 40 °F (4.4 °C) o menos, o caliente a 140 °F (60 °C) o más. Esto es conocido como “Zona de Peligro”; es decir, la zona entre 40 ° y 140 ° F, es donde las bacterias crecen y se multiplican de manera exponencialmente, duplicándose en número cada 20 minutos. Read more »
People dressed for a holiday party don’t picture themselves sick in bed shortly after the festivities, but that’s what could happen if food on party buffets isn’t handled and served safely. Bacteria are party crashers, and the only housewarming gift they bring is foodborne illness.
How do bacteria crash parties? They hitch a ride on perishable foods left out at room temperature without being kept cold (40 °F and below) or hot (140 °F and above). This is called the “Danger Zone” temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F where bacteria grow and multiply exponentially, doubling in number every 20 minutes. Read more »
Today, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service shared with the public our “New Year’s Resolutions” for Fiscal Year 2014. Like many of the people who consume the products we regulate, we set new goals for ourselves at the beginning of each year. Known as the Annual Performance Plan, this list of key results we plan to achieve between now and September 2014 to do our jobs better, which means making America’s supply of meat, poultry, and egg products safer to eat. This is our third APP. It is something that we take very seriously. It is consistent with our emphasis on performance and our efforts to improve how we do our jobs every day.
The goals listed in our APP are all measurable. By setting specific targets and measuring our progress throughout the year, we have a clearer picture of what is working well, which initiatives are not effective, and where we may not be challenging ourselves enough. By making our targets public, we are holding ourselves accountable to you, and we are giving the regulated industry, consumers, and other interested persons an overview of our priorities and of our expectations for the year ahead. Read more »
USDA Market News reporter Holly Mozal teaches a Cochran Fellowship group from Haiti about our Market News database. We capture data for everything from cotton, fruits, vegetables and specialty crops, livestock, meats, poultry, eggs, grain and hay, to milk and dairy, and tobacco.
At some point in our lives, we all wonder what it would be like if we didn’t exist. How would things be different? Last month, American farmers and businesses experienced what it was like to live without USDA Market News. While the markets continued to operate, we received several phone calls and heard stories of how so many small and mid-sized producers struggled without the valuable information we provide.
In the 100-year history of Market News, this was only the second time that the data reports were not available. The reports give farmers, producers and other agricultural businesses the information they need to evaluate market conditions, identify trends, make purchasing decisions, monitor price patterns, evaluate transportation equipment needs and accurately assess movement. The information, gathered by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and provided for free, captures data for everything from cotton, fruits, vegetables and specialty crops, livestock, meats, poultry, eggs, grain and hay, to milk and dairy, and tobacco. Read more »
Click to view the full version of our Certified Egg Facts infographic.
Whether you prepare them for Easter dinner or as part of a Passover Seder Plate, eggs will certainly be the rave this weekend. Coupled with egg dyeing, decorating, or hunting, it’s likely that you will find yourself searching for eggs in the super market. The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) wants to pass along some information to help make your trip to the store a success.
When strolling down the dairy aisle, you will see that the egg displays are full of several brands, each garnering various grading shields and marketing claims. Remembering a few key points will help you make an informed and egg-celent choice: Read more »