Friday, January 21, 2011

Response to Rachel Ray

This is a segment on food myths Rachel does on her show. At first I appreciated this segment because she pointed out that the color of an egg made no difference. However, she went on to recommend only buying organic, cage-free eggs. While I have no problem with them, to insinuate that they are somehow healthier and better did not sit well with me. The following is my response.

I am a proud farmer and rancher so I was very disappointed to read your comments about organic, cage-free eggs being better. I do agree that fresh eggs are better tasting, however, the eggs you can buy in your grocery store are just as safe and nutritious.

Organic eggs are no more nutritious or healthy than conventionally produced eggs. Eggs are USDA inspected and the feeds ingredients are also closely regulated. The key to safety when consuming eggs is to properly handle and cook them. There are no credible research trials that prove that organic eggs are healthier.

As far as, the cage free tag. Many years of animal science research has went into the much maligned laying cages. To understand them and why they are much better for the hen, you must understand chicken behavior. The term pecking order is not something that is just made up. Chickens determine a level of hierarchy by fighting. The weakest are forced away from feed, picked on and eventually killed. If they are cage-free there is little the farmer can do to protect the hen. By placing them in cages they hens all receive the same, balance diet and are protected from more dominate hens. This is a far more ethical approach to producing eggs.

I am not a poultry farmer, but I do know many who are. They are good, hard-working men and women. Many are family farmers who have been working the same land for generations. All I ask is that you try to do some research and visit a modern poultry farm. Then you can form a fair, unbiased opinion.

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