Nellie’s Free Range Eggs are not part of egg recall!
Nellie's Free Range Eggs

certified-humane

Nellie’s Eggs NOT Impacted by Egg Recall

This week 207 million eggs had to be recalled due to a Salmonella outbreak on a farm in North Carolina operated by Rose Acre Farms, the second largest egg producer in the country. While this recall does not affect Nellie’s, we were saddened by those impacted and amazed by its extent, given that it was from just one farm. You may not know this, but hens, on average, lay just under one egg per day. So to produce that many eggs in 90 days, you need about 2.5 million hens. That is like taking every single person that lives in the city of Chicago, and putting them on a single farm.

That approach to producing eggs is common because it’s efficient and inexpensive. But cheap eggs are very costly in other ways – consider the lives of the hens! About 9 out of 10 eggs sold in the U.S. come from eggs produced by hens that live in cages so small they can’t move around or flap their wings. If you think that’s a difficult environment in which to control disease, you’re right. The primary way they combat disease is by feeding the hens antibiotics in their food or water and accepting a high hen mortality rate.

At Nellie’s Free Range, we don’t pretend that we can control everything. What is different about us, however, is that our farms are human-scale (roughly 1-2% the size of these factory sized farms) and each one is owned and operated by a single family. The farmers care about their birds and they care about their product. And if anything was to happen on one of our farms, the number of eggs affected would be in the thousands, not in the hundreds of millions.

Thank you for supporting our Certified Humane, Free Range Farms. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Cage Free ~ Is the Tide Turning?

It’s that time again for New Year’s resolutions. And a few big companies are doing it. McDonald’s is doing it over the next decade. Burger King, Starbuck’s, Panera and Taco Bell plan to be there by 2017. Dunkin Donuts, General Mills, Costco, Michael Foods and even Royal Caribbean have all made announcements recently. They are all going cage free for their eggs. Evidentially, Corporate America has finally gotten the message that their consumers don’t want inhumane treatment for the animals that produce their food; thus the beginning of the end for a horrific practice may be at hand.

This is mostly great news. Currently, 90% of the eggs sold in the U.S. still come from “farms” (read: massive warehouse complexes) full of “battery cages” where hens spend their lives in disgusting enclosures the size of a piece of writing paper, stacked high, one on top of the other. And that will continue to be true for quite a while yet – years in all likelihood. But, change is on the horizon. The European Union simply banned these systems years ago. California has also done it. Massachusetts is considering it. Until the practice is altogether banned in the U.S., there will still be a market for the cheapest possible eggs, which means tiny, cramped cages.

It’s also true that while big egg producers are seeing the writing on the wall and are either building or converting space to cage free production; that new “farm” of theirs probably still isn’t what consumers think a farm should be. The caged producers have not turned over a new leaf. They will continue to try to deliver the cheapest eggs possible to the marketplace and are simply adjusting to, at the most basic level, society’s increasing discomfort with their worst practices. For example, a new facility being planned for “cage free” production in Texas will house up to 3 million birds in a single location. This is not going to be sustainable, human scale farming, not by a long shot. True, the birds will have a bit more freedom of movement, but only within what are essentially just bigger cages (yes, that can be considered “Cage Free” by the USDA) and they will never have access to the outdoors with dirt, grass or sunshine.

Truly humane farming requires a higher standard. At Nellie’s we are Certified Humane Free Range by the non-profit Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) organization, the highest standard of care in the industry. Certified Humane Free Range means there are no cages of any type in our barns, big or small. Our hens have access 24-hours a day to feed, fresh water, fresh air and places to nest and roost. Because they are not in over-crowded situations, we do not need to add antibiotics to their feed to avoid the spread of disease. They also can go outside via easily accessed doors to adjacent pasture and field (outdoor access may be limited when either weather conditions or risk of things like Avian Influenza warrant it).

McDonald’s will probably continue to buy their eggs from giant industrial egg factories so that they can continue to put an Egg McMuffin on the menu for the artificially low price of $1.00. Nellie’s eggs are produced by independent, small family farms. This is the only model that is sustainable for the future of agriculture after society’s failed experiment with farm industrialization.

We salute the decisions by McDonald’s and others to respond to their customer’s concerns and make long overdue changes to their egg supply. However, the improvement is still just a small step toward truly humane, and sustainable farm operations. To know you are buying humane, free range eggs from a responsible, human-scale producer, look for the Certified Humane logo on all your eggs.

Nellie’s Free Range Eggs are not part of egg recall!

Rose Acre Farms has recalled over 200 million eggs from a single farm in North Carolina whose eggs were shipped to 10 different states under a variety of brand names. Nellie’s Free Range Eggs are not affected and we do not partner with factory farms of this type or size.

If you’re concerned about eggs you purchased recently, see what brands have been recalled.

Nellie’s Free Range Eggs are produced by family farmers on small farms. Learn more about why Nellie’s eggs are different.