Egg News Break

Yesterday I picked up another couple dozen eggs from my neighbor.  Her hens do not live in battery cages inside a dark building but rather in an outdoor chicken coop.  I hope one day to have my own hens.

I came across a couple of articles regarding eggs recently that I thought some of you might be interested in reading.  The first is an announcement from American Humane Certified that they will now approve producers who use “enriched colony housing” for their hens.  Prior to this announcement, they only approved cage-free operations.

The second article falls under the “first they tell you something is good for you, then they tell you it’s bad” category:

Here’s some disconcerting news for health-conscious eaters who favor eggs from free-range hens: A Taiwanese study found that the eggs contain much higher levels of industrial pollutants than eggs laid by caged hens.


The researchers believe the free range eggs have more contaminants because they are found in the environments where free range hens roam. Studies have found the chemicals in “feedstuffs, soil, plants, worms and insects,” they wrote. Their own measurements of dirt from free range farms persuaded them that soil contamination is at least partly to blame.

The problem probably isn’t limited to Taiwan. Scientists have also found the same trend in the European Union, and one study found that about 10% of free range eggs exceeded the safety limit set by regulators there.

Oh darn.  In polluting our planet, we’re poisoning our way up the food chain.  If we don’t get a handle on things, I’m afraid the only eggs deemed fit for human consumption will come from hens who live like the Julianne Moore character in the movie Safe.

4 thoughts on “Egg News Break

  1. As someone who spent a couple of decades studying things like I’d like to say:

    1) The fact that eggs laid by some free range hens in Taiwan and the EU were reported to be contaminated with certain contaminants does not mean that all free range eggs are similarly contaminated.

    2) Eggs are the tip of the iceberg. In fact, contaminants can be detected in pretty much all icebergs.

    3) Part of the reason for this is that modern laboratories are able to detect astonishingly small quantities of pollutants in samples. Another part of the reason is that we have puked tons of crap into the biosphere and a lot of what’s out there is resistant to degradation.

    4) Industrial pollutants are just one issue. Massive use and over-use of drugs and nutritional supplements mean that we pee out trace quantities all the time. Some of the residue we excrete is highly resistant to degradation and now – if you have really good equipment – you can detect trace quantities of a huge array of pharmaceuticals in nearly any body of water.

    5) While I very much want to see industrial and non-point discharges reduced to the extent possible we need to come to terms with the fact that we can never get completely rid of them unless we all agree to live drugless lives in caves. Or just die en masse.

    6) With all that we need to remember that the dose (and the route) makes the poison. The fact that tiny amounts of contaminants are in something does not necessarily make it harmful.

    7) We are well beyond the point where the world can be made pristine. In fact, it never was – cyanide, arsenic and other toxins occur naturally in many places.

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