Not all farmers stamp their eggs, yet. Egg stamping is not a legal requirement in New Zealand, but we believe that it is a great initiative for New Zealand to adopt.
Another reason why your egg isn't stamped may be because machinery on a farm may have temporarily broken down. These breakdowns must be rectified by participating farmers as soon as possible, and in accordance with the Terms and Conditions.
We are encouraging all egg producers to introduce stamping to minimise opportunities for fraudulent behaviour. While uncommon, the egg industry has faced a handful of issues with some individuals, which it does not support, and seeks to actively prevent through this programme.
If an egg is stamped on-farm, as is required by the Trace My Egg programme, it is unable to be re-stamped later, providing a single source of responsibility – the farmer. Therefore, stamping eggs on-farm demonstrates farmer integrity.
Because farmers are also audited by MPI on their farm, it is believed that the chances of detecting or completely deterring fraudulent behaviour will be increased through the Trace My Egg programme.
The same laws apply to stamping eggs as they do to the labelling on the carton – it is illegal to label an egg with a production method that is not true to how the egg is produced. This includes using any derivative of the egg stamping programme that may be intended to, or obviously could mislead a consumer – for example, stamping just the word “free” on to an egg that is not free-range.
Any farmer who is found to be stamping eggs fraudulently will not be allowed to participate in the programme, in accordance with the Terms and Conditions. The Commerce Commission is also legally responsible to investigate behaviour that it believes may be fraudulent.
You may find that from time-to-time you purchase a carton of eggs that features stamps with different farm codes in the one pack. This is not cause for concern. In New Zealand, some (usually smaller) farms collaborate to sell their eggs. We think it’s great to see kiwis working together in this way. The important thing to check is that the production method – represented by first two letters on the stamp – is the same throughout the packet, demonstrating that all eggs in that carton have all been farmed in the same way.
There are three main reasons why your egg code may be returning an invalid result. Reason one is that perhaps the code you are entering is not aligned with what is traced in the programme. Please make sure that you are only entering the 5-digit traceable code starting with either FR, BN, CL, CG or OR (that’s “O” for organic, not the number ‘zero’) followed by the three-digit numerical farm code. Find out more information on how to read these codes.
Another reason you may be retuning an invalid result, is that the eggs you have purchased are being sold by a provider who is not, or is no longer part of the Trace My Egg programme. Please contact the individual egg producer to find out whether their egg stamp is part of the Trace My Egg initiative.
The final reason, albeit unlikely, is that the egg stamp is fraudulent. If you suspect fraudulent egg stamping, please take photos of the eggs and the carton that you purchased them from, and email them to firstname.lastname@example.org including your contact details, details of where you purchased the eggs and, if possible, the date they were purchased.
Each egg will be stamped with two letters before the three digit code to show the production method.
FR = Free Range
OR = Organic
BN = Barn
CL = Colony Laid
CG = Cage