No More Organic Eggs?

Organic eggs on a commercial scale could be impossible under new FDA rules.
By The Cornucopia Institute
September 9, 2013

Photo by The Cornucopia Institute


Content Tools

Related Content

Safer Spinach? Hardly

Think that bagged spinach is safe to eat? Think again.

How Long Will Fresh Eggs Keep Without Refrigeration?

Get expert advice on how long fresh eggs will keep without refrigeration.

Sick Chickens to Blame for Salmonella Outbreak

In eggs from a healthy chicken, proteins found within the egg white control the growth of dangerous ...

Avoid the Salmonella Egg Recall—Know Where Your Eggs Come From!

More than half a billion eggs possibly tainted with salmonella bacteria have been recalled. Avoid th...

A major 2010 salmonella outbreak in eggs, centered on “factory farms” in Iowa, shone a spotlight on industrial-scale egg houses confining tens of thousands of hens, each, in filthy and dangerous conditions.  This past July, the FDA issued a Draft Guidance for the prevention of salmonella enteritidis in shell eggs for egg producers providing outdoor access to their flock.

Despite scientific evidence tying higher rates of pathogenic contamination to older, massive factory farms with caged production/forced molting (banned in organics and now out of favor in conventional agriculture), the FDA is zeroing in on flocks with outdoor access (certified organic).

The new guidance will make it difficult, expensive and perhaps even impossible to have medium-sized flocks of birds outside. This could spell the end, on a commercial scale, of truly organic eggs where hens are outdoors exhibiting their native behavior, as required by USDA’s organic regulations.

There is a critical need for the good food community to come together right now.  Please sign and mail back Cornucopia’s proxy-letter  (today!) on egg safety and other food safety issues (the proxy letter also addresses the threat posed by the FDA’s proposed food safety rule for diverse produce farmers).

The FDA’s new food safety rules have the real potential to force some of the safest local and organic farms out of business!

The FDA, in its draft guidance on eggs, appears to have colluded with a willing USDA to determine that an enclosed tiny porch, attached to the poultry house and permitting only a minute portion of the flock to access at any one time, constitutes acceptable outdoor access. The FDA must delete the “Indoor Area with Porch” as one of the four housing styles acceptable for organic production and make their guidance for outdoor pasture area “chicken and farmer friendly.”

Rather than placing unnecessary and expensive regulatory burdens on producers with outdoor access, the FDA should focus its efforts on addressing the significant risk factors of cages and large flocks.  Multiple scientific studies, in addition to experience/data from European countries, conclude that the risk of salmonella contamination is significantly greater when hens are kept indoors in cages.

Many of the guidance’s recommendations for avoiding contact with wild birds, and other wildlife, are logistically and economically impractical, and risk putting undue burdens on organic producers who follow the spirit and the letter of the organic law and regulations, which require meaningful outdoor access for all birds.

Netting the entire outdoor run would be cost-prohibitive and impractical. Noise cannons would presumably scare the hens as well as wild birds, and hens would be discouraged from going outdoors (there is no research presented by the FDA to suggest otherwise).

The FDA was highly selective in the scientific studies that are cited to support its conclusion that contact with wild birds should be minimized. The FDA cited only four studies to justify targeting contact with wild birds (of these four studies, one deals with broilers, not layers). And the agency ignored studies from Europe that have shown great success in controlling salmonella without requiring netting, noise cannons or other measures to limit contact with wild birds.

For further in-depth analysis of the relative risks associated with conventional, confinement egg production, and eggs from certified organic farms, with access to the outdoors, please refer to a scientific literature review conducted in 2011 by The Cornucopia Institute and our formal comments submitted to the FDA on its draft guidance document.

Please act today by printing, signing and mailing your proxy letter!


Previous | 1 | 2 | Next






Post a comment below.

 

JR23
9/16/2013 2:03:03 AM
In every business that the government regulates its goal is to get small business out of business there doing it with food producers, farms,trucking any business that they can they want only a few big company's/ and its our congress the make a law that might even have merit then its given to the regulators and they make the rules and after there thousands of pages of gov speak regs they do not even have to show congress they just march ahead and the regs may not even have a resemblance to what the law was for the bureaucrats job is to expand and keep the bureaucracy going an only big company s can afford to comply or fight and now even the company's are selling our biggest bread company is Mexican and the biggest pork co. will be china owned

Kevin Haendiges
9/15/2013 12:18:19 PM
If you want organic eggs there's nothing preventing you from having chickens of your own aside, perhaps, for zoning laws. Even those in "no livestock zones" could access organic eggs from smaller producers, or country dwelling friends or relatives.








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.