The Humane Egg

by Staff on January 31, 2014

Certified Humane EggsOur neighbor raises chickens.  Happy chickens.  They run around on acres in a fenced yard, serenely pecking at worms and bugs.   We try to purchase their eggs every time we get a chance.  Those egg yolks range from bright yellow to dark yellow, and the yellows stand up at attention when the egg hits the frying pan.  Both the fragrance and the flavor announce:  ‘fresh egg’.    We firmly believe that the conditions where the chickens live allow for great poultry products in the food chain.

But our neighbor’s eggs are not always available and then we need to find other sources.  If there are summer markets or specialty shops, we can still find great tasting eggs (though in our perhaps-biased minds we believe none are as good as our neighbor’s eggs).   And sometimes we simply need to grab a dozen eggs at a supermarket, and then the quandary begins.  What, if anything, do all of those quality claims mean on the egg cartons?   Vegetarian feed?  Free range?  Cage free?  Do you really know what sort of conditions existed for the chickens who produced the various brands and types of eggs in the dairy section?

Lucky for us and for the chickens.   There’s a Virginia company called Humane Farm Animal Care, and they have recently provided definitions to measure the standards for egg carton descriptions.   Their designation is called Certified Humane.

For instance, if chickens are raised outdoors on a concrete slab, shoulder-to-shoulder or wing-to-wing, and if grains are tossed on the floor for them….. would you still call those ‘free range’ chickens?    Neither would I.    But more importantly, their eggs would not qualify for “Certified Humane” on the label.

Certified Humane designations apply to poultry and meats too, and it mean that the entire process of raising an animal has been measured for quality ….. details like how much time they have access to the out-of-doors or shelter, no more than 1000 birds per 2.5 acres,  and how antibiotics are avoided throughout the life of the bird.

There are already 5,000 farms using Certified Humane standards for their products, and the results are already in your marketplace.  Just check for the Certified Humane label.


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