Our Mission

Provide safeguards for egg producers and consumers that will promote honest, equitable and sustainable egg supply through education and working together.

Anyone engaged in the production, sale or handling of shell eggs or egg products in Iowa must register with IEQAP. IEQAP performs inspections at production sites and egg safety rule inspections under contract with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and conducts outreach activities aimed at educating small flock egg producers and others about egg quality and food safety.

Program Requirements for Egg Handlers

IDALS egg licensing is based upon the Iowa Administrative Rules, Chapter 36. To apply for an Egg Handler’s License, fill out the egg handler form and submit to the office with the appropriate fees.

Small Flock Producers

If you are producing shell eggs and selling to restaurants, bakeries or grocery stores or transporting shell eggs, regardless of facility size or number of hens, you must comply with the Iowa Egg Handlers rules. Producers of shell eggs with a flock over 3,000 hens are also required to be registered with FDA and follow the federal Egg Rule.

All egg producers must take precautions to prevent the introduction and spread of disease-causing organisms. Biosecurity is the key to having disease-free flocks. Developing and practicing daily biosecurity procedures on the farms and in the backyards will reduce the potential spread of infectious disease.

Be proactive; know your birds and their behaviors. You can enact measures to protect the flock. If you detect a contagious disease early, this can greatly reduce the impact and spread of disease. Click here for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need an Iowa Egg Handlers License?

If you want to…

Sell eggs directly to home consumers

No IDALS license

Sell eggs at farmers market

No IDALS license

Sell eggs to retail store*

Yes, IDALS license required

              *includes but not limited to retail, bakery, restaurant, or warehouse

How do I apply for an Egg Handlers License?

Fill out the application and submit with associated fee to IDALS, 502 East 9th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50319.

How long is the license good for?

The license is good for two years; the license cycle is on odd years. If you are applying in the middle of the cycle, the fees are not prorated.

Do out-of-state companies that ship eggs into Iowa for sale have to register with IDALS?

Yes, the company must have a current IDALS license to ship eggs into the State of Iowa.

What happens to producers that do not pass state inspection?

New applicants will not be issued a license to sell eggs. Established licensed egg handlers will not be able to sell eggs until a successful follow-up inspection has occurred.

Where does the inspection take place?

The inspection takes place at the location the eggs are being candled and graded.

What are the labeling requirements?

A label shall include the following:

  • Name (producer/egg handler)

  • Address

  • License number or USDA plant number

  • The grade and size of eggs

  • Date the eggs were packed

  • Printed letters on the labels shall not be less than ¼ inch in height

What is a Julian Date? What is the pack date?

We recognize the pack date. Some states recognize the Julian date. You can have both on your label if you chose, just be consistent.

Does it matter how many hens I have?

Yes, IDALS regulates all egg handlers; there are few exceptions (see “Do I Need an Iowa Egg Handlers License” above).  Flocks of over 3000 hens are also regulated by FDA.

<3000 hens

IDALS registration required

>3000 hens

IDALS and FDA registration required

The health and wellbeing of flocks, farmers and workers is of utmost importance. Disease-free flocks are an important step in providing high-quality food for consumers. Biosecurity measures include restricting visitors on the farm and in the houses and prohibiting employees from keeping birds at home or handling them.