Colorado Egg Producers

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Colorado Egg Farmers Crack Egg Myths

Friday, October 1, 2010

In today’s world, we are constantly being bombarded with information. We have gone global and mobile – at the touch of a button on our phones, iPads or laptops we can tap into the latest news and search the Internet no matter where we are. This continuous flow of news and information can be overwhelming. And it can also make it hard to distinguish myths from facts.

The recent voluntary egg recall is a perfect example. The news coverage of the recall put a spotlight on every aspect of the egg industry and may have left you wondering if eggs are safe to eat and how eggs get from the farm to your table. The Colorado Egg Producers (CEP) Association is here to crack the myths and provide Coloradans with the real facts about eggs.

First and foremost, eggs ARE safe to eat. According to the Center for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration thoroughly cooked eggs are thoroughly safe eggs.

“It is also important that consumers know that NO eggs produced in Colorado were ever part of the egg recall,” said Jerry Wilkins, president of CEP. “As Colorado Egg Producers we are open, honest and transparent about every aspect of our production processes. Most importantly, we care about how all of our chickens are treated. While no system is perfect, we ensure our chickens receive the best care possible within both the cage and cage-free systems. As members of the Colorado community, we would like to pass our egg-ceptional knowledge on to consumers, so you can feel confident in the eggs you and your loved ones buy and eat.”

CEP is a membership organization representing seven family farms throughout the state producing fresh, wholesome eggs for most of your favorite grocery stores in Colorado. CEP is committed to doing what’s right for its community, as illustrated by the regular donation of thousands of eggs to food banks throughout the state. As an association, CEP was the first state to develop and implement an Animal Care Doctrine. Each of CEP’s producers and members have signed this Doctrine and are committed to the best possible care of chickens based on scientific principles and animal husbandry standards. Local egg farmers take great pride in providing eggs to Coloradans. We are also proud to offer consumers the choice between cage, cage-free eggs, organic, nutrient enhanced, brown and white eggs.

Below are additional important and interesting facts about eggs and egg production courtesy of CEP and our partners at the American Egg Board.

MYTH: Eating eggs increases your chances of getting salmonella.
FACT: Eggs are safe to eat. According to the Center for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration thoroughly cooked eggs are thoroughly safe eggs. Salmonella is destroyed by thorough cooking or dishes containing eggs reach a temperature of 160 degrees F. On average across the U.S., only one out of every 20,000 commercially-produced eggs might contain the Salmonella bacteria. This means an average consumer might encounter an infected egg once every 84 years.

MYTH: Eating eggs can increase your dietary cholesterol.
FACT: Thirty years of research has never linked egg consumption to heart disease. In fact, according to the American Heart Association, an egg a day can fit within heart-healthy guidelines for people with normal cholesterol levels.

MYTH: Hens are kept in cages so small they can’t even spread their wings.
FACT: Colorado egg farmers (CEP members) believe in proper stewardship to their communities and their chickens. In Colorado specifically, CEP standards are based upon science, third party verified and provide sufficient space requirements for each hen based on the breed. These science-based standards have increased the amount of space provided to each hen by nearly 30 percent in the last 10 years.

MYTH: Egg producers put hormones in the hen feed.
FACT: Growth hormones are never fed to pullets being grown for egg-laying nor during the egg-laying period. The hens have a high quality, nutritionally balanced diet. The feed is meticulously formulated with the proper nutrients to produce quality eggs and is perfectly balanced with ingredients made up mostly of corn, soybean meal, vitamins and minerals.

MYTH: Egg-laying hens are forced into molting through starvation.
FACT: In Colorado, CEP members conduct only full-feed, controlled molting of their flocks. Molting, or loss of feathers, is a natural occurrence common to all birds regardless of species. As the chicken ages, egg quality declines – lower calcium levels deplete the eggshells making them weak. At about 18 to 20 months of age, molting occurs and egg production ceases. Some flocks are replaced at this time. However, it is a fairly common practice to place the flock into a full-feed, controlled molt, which essentially doubles the life of the chicken. A controlled molt is done by changing the light levels in the barn and through a slight change to the feed. Food is NOT withheld during this process. After a rest period of 4 to 8 weeks, the birds start producing again. During the rest period, the chickens’ bodies and systems are replenished and calcium levels naturally increase.

MYTH: Chickens are debeaked or have their beaks trimmed, which is cruel.
FACT: Chickens are NEVER debeaked, without a beak chickens would not be able to eat, survive or produce eggs. CEP’s Code of Conduct does recommend beak trimming only when necessary to prevent feather pecking and cannibalism amongst the chickens. It is only when carried out by properly trained and monitored personnel. Proper nutrients are fed to the chickens before and after the procedure, it is done in the first ten days of the chicken's life and assurances are made that the chickens are not subjected to stressful conditions. Some of the advantages of beak trimming include reduced pecking, reduced feather pulling, reduced cannibalism, better feather condition, less fearfulness, less nervousness, less chronic stress and decreased mortality.

“Eggs are a main food staple which you can buy locally and enjoy all year round,” said Wilkins. “We encourage you to continue to support your Colorado egg farmers and buy local. You can find locally produced, fresh, wholesome and safe eggs in the dairy case of your favorite Colorado supermarkets. Simply ask your grocer if their eggs are produced in Colorado. To help guide consumers, we also have compiled a list of stores, available on our website, where you can find Colorado produced eggs.”
 

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