The spanish association of egg producers (ASEPRHU)

The Spanish Association of Egg Producers (ASEPRHU), funded in 1994 represents sixty percent of domestic production of hen eggs. Their members are located in different areas of production throughout Spain.

ASEPRHU defends the interests of the egg sector and contributes to inform the society about the egg production, the Spanish egg industry and the characteristics of eggs as an essential food in a balanced diet.

ASEPRHU maintains a permanent dialogue with the Administration, to discuss on issues that affect the egg industry and facilitate the implementation in the companies of official policies and regulations.

ASEPRHU participates in the European Union organization of agriculture professionals, (COPA-COGECA).  As a representative of the companies of classification and marketing of eggs, ASEPRHU is member of the Spanish Federation of the Food and Drink Industry (FIAB), which defends the interests of the Spanish agri-food industries.

ASEPRHU is also a member of the Spanish Interbranch Organisation of Eggs and Egg Products (INPROVO).

The egg sector in Spain


Spain is one of the main egg producers and exporters in the EU, with 11% of the total EU egg production, about 800.000 t. of table eggs.  Almost 20% of the Spanish eggs are exported, and the 50% of the eggs exports goes to countries all over the world (mainly in Africa and Asia).

Most of the hens are reared in enriched cages (EU system), but the alternative production (barn, free range, organic) is steadily growing.

Every Spanish farm is authorised and inspected by the competent authorities and registered with an official registration number. The competent authority frequently inspects the farm premises to confirm that the buildings, equipment and management comply with the EU and national requirements on hens’ health and welfare, food safety and environmental conditions. These regulations conforms the EU model of production).

Most farms have an integrated system of production, with their own feed mill, rearing farm for pullets, production farm (for hens) and packing station.

The packing station has areas for egg storage (unsorted and sorted, separated) and loading of transport vehicles. Sometimes the same company has also an egg products plant.

Farmers have its own private veterinary in charge of the supervision of the farm. Sanitary plans are based in prevention, with vaccination plans, together with strict biosecurity measures and frequent controls (hygiene of water and feed, environment and animals). Every sanitary intervention (checks, laboratory analytics, official inspections, etc.) is registered in official books.

Every farm over 40.000 hens needs to be authorised under a system of Integrated Environmental Authorisation. This means that the operational conditions have to be in line with the environmental EU requirements, and it is compulsory to implement the best available practices for the reduction of emissions, together with an authorised management of by-products of the farm (hens manure, broken eggs, died hens, etc.).

Full traceability of all birds, feed, eggs and by-products is also required under the EU regulations.

The Spanish egg producers follow the Good Practice Guides for farm management and hen welfare, for traceability and for hygiene at the farm. You can find the guides here:

Sorting and packing centres

There are 780 packing stations in Spain. Farmers are the owners of the packing stations, so usually the packing station is in line with the farm building, or sometimes is shared by several farmers and located very close to the production sites.

The egg sorting and packing centres are food industries authorised by the competent authorities and included in the EU list of Food Industries with their registration number. They operate under the specifications of the EU Regulation (EC) nº 853/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004, laying down specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin.

All packing stations have implemented the HACCP system, supervised by competent authorities, and have their traceability and control system in place. The EU egg marketing regulation for Category A (fresh) eggs stablish the marking of the egg shell with the farm (producer) code.  In order to trace back any problem detected along the food chain to the farm, this code inform on the country of production, the production system and the registration number of the farm.

Moreover, as part of the traceability system, the egg packs are marked with the official number of the packing station. On a daily basis farms record the number of eggs produced and its destination. Packers also record the number of eggs, origin –farms- and production system, the number of sorted eggs (by categories and production systems) and the destination of the batches delivered to the market.

As most of farms and packing stations are part of the same company, the eggs produced goes on a daily basis from the farm to the industry, where they are sorted and packed without delay. In general, the customers receive the eggs one or two days after the day of lay.

Operators oriented to the exporting markets work with completely automatized systems based in  modern packing machines (MOBA, Staalkalt) able to select and sort class A from and B eggs (dirty, cracked, broken eggs). The automated systems also use UV light to sanitize the shell surface.

Packing stations sort eggs by weight if necessary (the usual way of selling eggs for direct consumption in the EU is by size – XL, L, M and S) or pack directly without weighting, for the wholesale market.

Packing stations control the quality of eggs received and delivered. The link between the farm and the packing station makes very easy to have the useful information on the quantity and quality of the eggs produced and marketed, and total availability on the veterinary checks and controls, which gives a complete warranty of the egg safety. Farms and packing centres have their self-controls and the official ones.

The Agriculture authorities inspect farms. Agriculture and Health inspectors inspect egg industries.

The size of farms and the integration along the egg chain make the Spanish egg sector one of the most competitive in the EU.

Moreover, to help the egg industry to follow the strict EU regulations, the Spanish interbranch association for the egg and egg products (INPROVO) published the Guide of Good Practice for traceability, HACCP system implementation and egg labelling. They are available here (only in Spanish):

Egg products manufacturers

Spanish egg products industries comply with EU regulation on food industry hygiene, and with the egg products specifications.

The industry premises are authorised by the competent inspectors, and registered in the EU list of Food Industries with their identification number.

They works under the specifications of the EU Regulation (EC) nº 853/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004, laying down specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin (Annex III, SECTION X: EGGS AND EGG PRODUCTS).

To give all the EU industries a practical reference on their activity, the EU industry organization, the  European Egg Processors Association (EEPA) published the EU “Guide to good manufacturing practice for liquid, concentrated, frozen and dried egg products used as food ingredients”, in whose elaboration the Spanish association of egg processors (INOVO) was involved. INOVO prepared also the Spanish “Guide of Good Hygiene Practices for The Manufacturing of Egg Products (Pasteurised and Refrigerated Liquid Egg and Boiled Eggs)”.

The EU Commission approves the Guides, which can be found at the following links:

These guides include all relevant aspects of the egg products production, addressing the relevant critical control points (it is compulsory for each plant to implement an HACCP system, approved by the competent authority).

Egg processing facilities in Spain are manufacturing an average yearly output of around 100.000 t. Liquid and boiled egg products are the main production, in the range of 5 to 20 thousand tons per year. In many cases egg products plants are part of companies involved in the whole egg chain. Then, the control of origin and full traceability of the raw material is fully guaranteed.

Processing plants have a very high degree of automation for the main steps of the production chain, i.e., breaking and separation, mixing, pasteurization. In many cases, an aseptic filling system is in place to offer an extended shelf life without the use of preservatives.

All premises has their own quality control and traceability system implemented, compulsory by law, as each batch of final product has to comply the hygiene and sanitary requirements defined in the Regulation mentioned above and in the following others:

– Regulation (EC) nº 854/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 laying down specific rules for the organisation of official controls on products of animal origin intended for human

– Commission Regulation (EC) nº 2073/2005 on microbiological criteria for foodstuffs

– Council Directive 96/23/EC of 29 April 1996 on measures to monitor certain substances and residues thereof in live animals and animal products.

Spanish egg processors sell to the catering and food service sector, the retail market and the food industry. They export also part of the production.

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