Food safety is paramount for egg producers. The ability to effectively communicate traceability data and important information helps ensure producers are in compliance with safety regulations.
Recently, the Markoprint thermal inkjet printer received an OEM egg grading machine certification for egg coding. The printers come equipped with FDA-approved inks that are food grade.
Many countries world-wide already require standardized egg coding. Producers are increasingly being required to print information directly onto the egg. Information such as the laying date, manufacturer code, and other production-related information. Egg coding can also create significant added value for both the consumer and the producer, even if not mandated by law.
There are several advantages to egg coding:
• Purchase related information is passed on to the consumer
• Product and process traceability for both egg producers and consumers
• Marked distinction between competitors
• Retaining customers – i.e., eggs coded with a logo creates brand recognition
• Increased production efficiency
• Increased transparency and food safety fosters trust among the consumer
Egg recalls relating to health concerns with salmonella have shown that traceability is vital to protecting a brand’s reputation.
Eggs are not the ideal surface for coding. They are curved, fragile and have porous shells. Because of that, egg coding must be done gently, as to not break or crack the eggs, and the ink must not rub off, even when they are boiled. The printed code must be legible, look crisp, and professional.
The actual process of coding must work seamlessly within the grading process to minimize production down-time and costs.
It is also important to take into consideration the amount of integration necessary. A newer egg grader will have a greater level of integration, and will be able to control the print function whereas an older system will need a more manual type of printer for coding eggs.
Thermal inkjet printers provide maximum flexibility for egg coding. They can be used to print on the eggshell with fixed or variable information. Because they print with non-contact printing, different sized eggs are coded reliably and safety without re-adjusting the printhead.
Print system reliability is a must for use in egg grading operations. Although coding represents a small cog in the whole production process, it plays a vital part and any delays can lead to mounting costs. It is therefore, extremely important that the line runs smoothly and efficiently.
Evolving regulations, changes in consumer preferences, food safety concerns and retailer demands are all factors in this industry. You can rely on Griffin-Rutgers fifty years’ experience in the coding and marking industry to help you determine the exact inkjet printer for your egg coding process.