Poultry Hatcheries and Hatching Egg Supply Farms

All poultry hatcheries engaged in the production of day old chicks, turkey poults or ducklings for the production of table birds or the replacement of laying flocks must be licensed by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Only hatching eggs obtained in accordance with a permit issued by the Department may be incubated at a licensed poultry hatchery. All breeding stock at supply farms must be obtained from approved breeding sources and are subject to inspection and blood-testing to ensure freedom from serious poultry disease. All poultry hatcheries and supply farms involved in EU trade in live poultry and hatching eggs require approval from the Department. Each consignment for export must be inspected and accompanied by the relevant health certificate.

Poultry Meat Marketing

Poultrymeat marketed in the EU must be classified as class A or class B in accordance with its quality and be packed, labelled, transported and presented for sale in accordance with the requirements of EU and national legislation governing the marketing standards for poultry. The amount of absorbed water in poultry must fall below specified limits. Poultrymeat may be marketed as ‘free range’, ‘barn reared’, ‘traditional free range’ or ‘free range – total freedom’, or contain a reference to the feed ration used, provided certain criteria are met. Producers and slaughterhouses wishing to use these terms are required to register with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and keep appropriate records and are subject to official Department inspections.

Eggs Marketing Regulations

Table eggs marketed at retail level in the EU must be graded by quality and weight and be packed, labelled, stored, transported and presented for sale in conformity with EU and national legislation on the marketing standards for eggs. Eggs must be marketed and packed in a epartment of Agriculture, Food and the Marine registered egg-packing centre. All registered egg packing centres are given a distinguishing number and are required to pay an annual fee in respect of their registration.

Egg packs must indicate the farming method and bear a ‘best before’ date. This date is 28 days after laying but the latest date by which eggs must be sold to the consumer is 21 days after laying. Incubated eggs may not be sold for human consumption.

Eggs may be marketed under the terms ‘cage’, ‘free range’, ‘barn’ or ‘organic’ provided the applicable requirements of the legislation have been met. Producers and packers using these terms and indications must be registered with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and comply with relevant legislation.

Import of Poultry and Hatching Eggs

Imports of poultry and hatching eggs from EU Member States are permitted under EU trade rules. Importers must give the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine advance notification of the intended import and all imports must be accompanied by an appropriate health certificate which complies with one of the model health certificates in Council Directive 2009/158/EEC (as amended) and which is endorsed by an Official Veterinarian, duly authorised by the Competent Authority in the Member State of export.

Imports of poultry and hatching eggs from non-EU Member States are only permitted from those regions/countries listed in Commission Regulation 798/2008 as amended by Commission Regulation 215/2010 and may only enter the EU through a Border Inspection Post approved for the import of poultry. There are no BIP facilities for poultry in Ireland.


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Draft Articles; The articles on this website are in draft form and are subject to further review for typographical errors and, in some cases, updating and correction. It is intended to include references to the sources of materials and acknowledgements in the final version. The content of articles with [EU] in the title and some of the articles in the section on Agriculture are a reproduction of or are based on European or Irish public sector information.

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