Georgia Department of Agriculture

State-Federal Poultry Graders

Walter Edmondson, Program Manager
1195 Jesse Jewell Parkway, Gainesville, GA 30501
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 7609, Gainesville, GA 30504
Tele:  (770)  535-5704
Fax:   (770)  535-5763

Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA AMS). Georgia’s Poultry Grading Service grades poultry in an effort to classify and sort poultry. This process takes into account various groups of conditions and quality characteristics, which meet official standards and grades, set by the federal government. The Poultry Grading service also provides the grading of shell eggs, in an effort to classify and sort shell eggs according to national standards for the egg grades and weight classifications. These official grades and standards are beneficial to the marketing of all poultry products, indicating a standard level of product specifications that are uniform across the industry.

Georgia's Poultry and Shell Egg Graders (sometimes referred to as inspectors) work to ensure any poultry or shell eggs marked with a USDA certification meet or exceed “acceptable quality level” (AQL) requirements and sampling tolerances. Graders also monitor and perform these types of sampling procedures on poultry designated for food banks, institutions (such as hospitals and colleges) and within the National School Lunch Program for school cafeteria meals. While some of the graders are stationed at one particular facility full-time, others travel Georgia to multiple facilities to provide various services. 

Poultry and Egg Grading Certification

The grade of poultry and shell eggs is based on the official USDA Quality Standards. In addition to grade determination, certifications are made by verifying that poultry and egg purchases through food procurement contracts meet specification requirements for such things as quality, condition, formulation, temperatures, net weight, packaging, storage and transportation. The grading and certification are voluntary services, which are paid for by those in the industry who request and use them.

Shell Egg Surveillance

Most eggs are sold and bought in the shell, as we purchase them in the grocery store, and USDA has established minimum standards of quality for all eggs that move in consumer channels. There are mandatory procedures for the disposition of certain eggs that do not meet these quality standards.  GDA employees monitor how these eggs are handled under the Shell Egg Surveillance Program at packers and processors that are visited on a quarterly basis each fiscal year.


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