About one-third of the nation's table eggs are packed under USDA's voluntary grading service. This service provides consumers qualified third-party assurance that the eggs they buy are the grade marked on the carton at the time the eggs are packed and that the plant processing equipment, facilities, sanitation, and operating procedures are continuously monitored by a USDA grader. This assurance is available at little or no additional cost to consumers -- eggs graded by USDA (eggs identified with the USDA grade shield) cost essentially the same as eggs without the USDA grade shield.
Only eggs graded by USDA may be packed into cartons that bear the shield-shaped USDA grademark shown here. USDA graders constantly monitor quality, size, and packaging of these eggs.