The Latest News about Eggs

Eggs--could you get through a week without cooking with or consuming at least one?    Probably not--unless you're a lacto-vegetarian or  a vegan and deliberately avoid eggs for a dietary reason. If you eat eggs,  it behooves you to keep abreast of the news coverage on these versatile edibles.  We're not going to argue about whether eggs are healthy or not--except to say that we side with those who say they are.  We're just going to educate you about some interesting (and some disgusting) true (not alternative) facts about the main ingredient in your omelet or quiche.

 

1) Natural News (http://www.naturalnews.com/eggs.html) provided links to the following morsels for your consideration:

 

Ÿ The world's oldest living person  (Emma Morano, age 117) has been eating 3 eggs a day for more than 90 years.  That means she's eaten more than 100,000 eggs! (http://www.naturalnews.com/055882_eggs_long_life_oldest_living_person.html))

 

The same article reported the following: NBC News Health and Nutrition Editor Madelyn Fernstrom told Today that "eggs are a major nutritional powerhouse, noting that a single egg only contains about 75 calories but 7 grams of high quality protein along with 5 grams of fat and 1.6 grams of saturated fat. In addition, she said, eggs are packed with 13 essential nutrients including iron." They are associated with healthy weight control, good brain and eye function, and enhancing muscle mass, said Fernstrom. We all know that eggs can give a person a food-borne illness and. eaten in excess,  perhaps more cholesterol than is good for you.  However, it's also true that eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet.

 

Ÿ Children who consume peanuts and eggs (not necessarily together) may be less likely to develop allergies to these foods. http://www.naturalnews.com/055418_food_allergies_peanuts_eggs.html

 

Ÿ The horrible truth about commercial eggs was revealed in a shocking video about the terrible conditions that some egg-laying hens must endure.  (http://www.naturalnews.com/055621_commercial_eggs_factory_farms_industry_practices.html)

Check it out if you have a strong stomach.  Definitely do not click on the above link shortly before planning to dine on either chicken or eggs.  (More about the miserable life of hens in  #3.)

 

2) Harvard Health Letter, "Are eggs risky for heart health?" February 2017.

 

The Harvard Health Letter is affiliated with Harvard Medical school, so  whatever I read there I believe.  Here's what I found in the latest issue:  "For most people, an egg a day does not increase your risk of a heart attack, a stroke, or any other type of cardiovascular disease.  No more than three eggs per week is wise if you have diabetes, are at high risk for heart disease from other causes (such as smoking), or already have heart disease."

 

But what about all the cholesterol in eggs?   The above article (and others as well) tells us that most of the cholesterol in our body is produced by the liver; it doesn't come from the food we eat. Therefore, consumed in moderation, eggs need not be feared. In fact, they're nutritious--good for the eyes, brain, and nerves and rich in vitamins A, B, and D. How do we  know all this? Research conducted at Harvard Medical School followed hundreds of thousands of people over decades before asserting these conclusions. Warning: If,  to accompany your eggs, you eat foods high in saturated fats and/or "bad" carbs, of course, you'll wind up with a meal that's not healthful and not good for your heart.

 

3) The New York Times

 

Stephanie Strom has been writing a lot about factory farming of chickens and eggs for the New York Times, and none of it has been in praise of these facilities. 

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/21/business/video-reveals-how-cage-free-hens-live-animal-advocates-

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/31/dining/animal-welfare-labels.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FFactory%

 

The extensive labeling on egg cartons can keep you reading and thinking for quite awhile.   Some shoppers just buy the cheapest carton on the shelves, not a  bad idea according to one of our Board scientists.  However, many shoppers go through a more complicated process of selection: organic? free-range? cage-free? And what about the endorsements, such as Animal Welfare Approved or American Humane Certified?  Stephanie Strom's recent New York Times article (1/31/17)  clarifies what these words mean, some of them not much. 

 

All this verbiage on the egg cartons is designed to help shoppers who want answers to one or both of the following questions:  Are these eggs safe for me to eat? Were the hens that produced these eggs treated humanely?  It turns out that none of the labels guarantee sanitary, humane conditions for the hard-working hens who gave birth to our  egg supply.  Check out the links above to learn more, or read what our next source (listed immediately below) has to say about this topic.

 

4) University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, "Cage-free eggs: Not all they're cracked up to be."  The pun is fun, but the information  conveyed is horrifying.  Cafe-free housing is supposed to be more humane than the vastly overcrowded  "battery cages" that are home to most egg-laying hens in the U.S.  According to the Wellness Letter, cage-free  requires birds to have 67 square inches, less space than the size of an 8 x 10 piece of paper!  Yes, birds can spread  their wings and perform some other natural behaviors, but it isn't really much of a life. 

 

5) The Humane Society says that cage-free, while better than caged, is still not cruelty-free. So if you want to purchase eggs that came from a mother that had a decent life, the label to look for is Animal Welfare Approved.  It mandates 259 square inches of indoor space  and 576 square inches of outdoor space  for each bird, and it prohibits beak-cutting and forced molting via starvation.  To learn more about labels on egg cartons, go to the following Humane Society comparison of egg carton labels:

http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/confinement_farm/facts/guide_egg_labels.html

 On this site you'll see a photo of caged birds; it may turn you into an activist.  The Humane Society website tells us the following: "Except for 'certified organic,' the U.S. government does not set definitions or requirements for egg carton labels. Commercial producers provide laying hens with varying degrees of freedom and space—from less than a sheet of paper to more than 100 times that amount—to engage in natural behaviors."

 

6) Chicago Tribune , "Avian flu stalks S, Korean Farms," January 26, 2017

 

A disastrous bird flu epidemic has dramatically cut sources and raised prices of one of South Korea's most popular foods--eggs.  In response, South  Korea has agreed to let eggs be imported from the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand.  More countries may soon be added to the list. Here's there's a "small catch":  South Koreans are used to brown eggs, but the imported American eggs are white. 

 

Past Avian flu epidemics have not been as severe as this one. "By late December, at least 20 million birds--- perhaps more than 10 percent of the country's poultry stock of chickens and ducks--had been culled because of the flu.  The figures continue to grow."

 

 In late January, 2017 South Korea imported millions of eggs from the U.S. This shipment was supposed to be the first of many.  However, the egg deal between the two countries was made as part of the U.S. Korea Free Trade Agreements (KORUS).   President Trump has called this agreement a job-killer, so its future is uncertain.

 

Source(s):

The links for this article's sources are embedded in the text.

 
 

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