Several years ago, “Dateline NBC” aired a segment on salmonella in eggs caused by illegal enterprises that were repackaging old returned eggs as new and sending them back to stores. That inspired Brad Parker to start EggFusion and prevent such schemes from being possible.
EggFusion, Deerfield, Ill., has come up with a process that uses laser-marking technology to apply permanent freshness dates and traceability codes to eggshells. Not only do the eggs have a life span that is limited by their freshness data, but consumers are able to insert the traceability code into a Web-based search engine to determine production information, such as where and when the egg was packaged. Since 2005, EggFusion has etched information on more than 400 million eggs.
The dates and codes “eliminate the guesswork and easily inform customers if the eggs in their refrigerator are fresh,” said Steve Fanion, vice president dairy, Giant Food Stores.
EggFusion-marked eggs are supplied to a number of food retailers in the Northeast, including A&P, Gristedes and Giant Food Stores of Carlisle, Pa. Retailers pay for the egg markings and the search engine, but receive revenue from EggFusion for “media” that can also be etched on the eggs, such as company logos or charitable campaigns, said Parker.
“The value for the consumer is the freshness date,” he said. “But the trace code offers peace of mind.” The search engine is available either at a participating retailer's website or at myfreshegg.com . One retailer is averaging more than 25 hits per day, according to EggFusion.