Eggs may not be egg-shaped anymore if a French firm's marketing plan succeeds in the United States.

In a move that might even leave chickens scratching their heads, the firm hopes to sell "square eggs" in gourmet shops across the nation soon.The square eggs are really fully cooked, reconstituted hard egg cubes of two-thirds-inch square currently being marketed by the firm, Ov'Action Inc., of Lieven, France.

One advantage is that they can be cooked in a microwave oven, unlike the from-the-hen variety whose shells can create a messy explosion if they are microwaved.

They are not available in the United States yet, but federal approval for a private tasting of the square egg has already been received, according to Lisa Kulvich of the French agency Development, Innovation, Technology Transfer, which is surveying the U.S. market for the product.

The microwave-cooked, pasteurized and/or homogenized egg cubes contain three layers of egg - white on top and bottom and yellow in between, she said.

It has a 21-day shelf life when stored at cool temperatures and it sells for around $2 for a 24-pack in some French food stores.

It is supposed to make an excellent salad garnishing or be used in making cocktails for parties, Kulvich said, and can be served as a subsititute for most types of cooked eggs.

"So far the response to the square egg has been pretty good and we have received FDA approval to hold a private tasting of the product soon," she told Reuters.

"We hope to gain from the opinions and advise of egg products distributors and some members of the public at the party," she added.

Ov'Action, which controls the rights, patents and technology for square eggs, is actively seeking to sell the technology for the product to interested parties in the U.S.

It may also consider a joint venture with American partners, she said.