Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Humane Farming to Prevent Salmonella Infected Eggs

More than a thousand Americans are ill from egg contaminated Salmonella and it has forced a recall of 1/2 billion eggs and increased scrutiny of the safety of eggs.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have tracked the contaminated eggs to two Iowa facilities, one with over 1 million chickens.  It turns out that less than 200 big companies supply 95% of the eggs in the United States. Wholesalers and distributors routinely repackage the eggs for sale under other names, like Albertsons or Wholesome Farms.

According to National Public Radio, the Iowa egg producer is part of the DeCoster family business who has run large hog and chicken operations.  They have faced a number of complaints and charges including employment discrimination, environmental violations, federal immigration charges and animal cruelty charges against their chickens.  They paid millions in fines to settle the charges.

There have been nine studies published in the last five years that show higher rates of Salmonella in chickens who are kept in forced confinement compared to a cage-free environment.  A caged hen is given only 67 square inches of cage space to live her life. That is less space than a single sheet of paper.  The hen cannot nest, perch, spread her wings or walk.  Even cage free animals aren't outside pecking on the ground, but they can at least walk and lay their eggs in nests, which is a natural behavior and reduces levels of stress and frustration.

A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology reported that by switching to cage-free systems, the egg industry may be able to cut the risk of Salmonella for the American public by half. 

California passed a law requiring that all whole eggs sold statewide be cage-free by 2015.  Michigan has also passed laws to phase out the use of cages to confine hens.  With 95% of egg-laying hens confined to cages, this is a small start and more legislation is needed to protect food safety.

You can do your part by buying only cage free eggs at the market.

17 comments:

tracy said...

Just as a warning...there are some graphic pic's on the site highlighted. And it's horrible, but true.

Raymond Bouchayer said...

And this is what we get ...Political candidate spending 10's of millions of dollars to be elected to "serve" the people .
Don't run , spend that money to create jobs , the Politicians that we already have are good for nothing except to tell us how hard they are working spending most of their time taking money from the lobbyists to fund their re-election...results nobody is watching the store and the food is causing disease , and that is just some of it , lies about how safe the fishing in the gulf is will prove instead that it creates more disease and on and on !!!

AbhayaMedia Health said...

Humane treatment of birds and animals are in order, as rightly pointed out. Every living being has right to live in natural environment. Thankfully, incidences like these highlights the importance of providing humane living space to domestic birds and animals.

tracy said...

Just bought my first dozen!

Anonymous said...

How do you know if they are cage free, do you mean just buy organic?

bbmd1111 said...

So interesting that doing the right thing is right for us too. But more expensive...The American public needs to be better educated on the real cost of everything that is too cheap.

Toni Brayer, MD said...

Anon: Cage free eggs are usually noted on the egg carton. It is not the same as organic but many organic farmers also have humane practices for animals. Look for cage free and organic if you can.

Anonymous said...

How a society treats its most defenseless members says so very much about its priorities. I grew up with "farm animals", we raised much of what we ate. It is a tough things to butcher a bird you have watched grow up, but it is also instructive. We are way too disconnected from the origins of our food....people call fishing and hunting brutal but go buy eggs at the grocery store that literally are the product of torture. We all need a bigger dose of reality.

Loretta said...

Salmonella can rot our intestines, and having rotten intestines mean an automatic accordance to halitosis. These are all according to a dental magazine written by a HHattiesburg MS dentist. She said that majority of her clients that suffer from third-grade halitosis had first encountered salmonella in their intestines. A Hattiesburg orthodontics writer also had written precious articles about this. Well, having these information are enough for me to avoid expired foods

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