"Between stops, Art mentioned that Joel’s eggs usually gave him his foot in the door when trying to land a new account. We stopped in at one such prospect, a newly opened restaurant called the Filling Station. Art introduced himself and presented the chef with a brochure and a dozen eggs. The chef cracked one into a saucepan; instead of spreading out flabbily, the egg stood up nice and tall in the pan. Joel refers to this as “muscle tone.” When he first began selling eggs to chefs, he’d crack one right into the palm of his hand, and then flip the yolk back and forth from one hand to another to demonstrate its integrity. The Filling Station chef called his staff over to admire the vibrant orange color of the yolk. Art explained that it was the grass diet that gave the eggs their color, indicating lots of beta-carotene. I don’t think I’d ever seen an egg yolk rivet so many people for so long. Art beamed; he was in."
I've yet to find an egg like that, though I've heard you can get them if you raise backyard chickens.
If there a lot of capsicum peppers around for instance, the yolks will turn almost red.
How firm it is relates directly to how old it is and how it was treated, regardless of how they are raised. You can get an ultra-firm egg yolk from a factory farmed hen. The eggs you get in a supermarket however are typically several weeks old - long enough for the egg yolk to start to lose its firmness.
IMHO it affects the taste and structure of the eggs more than the meat of chickens... I also notice the differences with beef a lot more too in terms of what they were fed. It would be really nice if meat, eggs and dairy could be better labelled as such. Then again, it would be nice to see slow-pasteurized milk make a comeback too.
The Linux / MacOS 'date' command will give you that:
If you want to know a specific date, add the Julian day to Jan 1 for the year:
date -d "Jan 1 2014 + 358 days"
Also chicken scraps make a difference.
I picked up a dozen at the feed store last time I was there and except for the fact that the shells were brown or green, the eggs themselves were just like supermarket eggs in appearance and taste. Typical for being raised on the cheapest feed out there.
Generally. Of course.
See also declining nutrient levels in produce generally. I'm becoming increasingly convinced that our ultra-low food prices, especially the US, amount to a scam.
We've got year-round variety (shipped from hundreds to thousands of miles away), we've got quantity, our produce is colorful (though bland), and our food rarely makes us sick (very nice, to be sure), but if you seek out quality there go convenience (distant 1 day/week farmers' markets versus a dozen nearby supermarkets that operate 24/7) and low prices, plus you've got to remember all the labeling and advertising tricks of the sort mentioned in the article so you don't get screwed.
 (PDF WARNING) http://www.drapsley.com/Documents/Mineral%20losses%20in%20fo...
These guys deliver good (pastured) eggs to your doorstep:
Free delivery, but only in select markets.
> and low prices
I totally agree with you there, but as you noted, our ultra-low food prices are looking more and more like a scam.
Even we humans have a ton more omega-6 in our tissues than we did before, largely because of our diets. In 1961, we ate diets of 5.8% omega-6s, and our adipose tissue concentrations of n-6 were 9%. Today, Americans eat around 9% of their energy as n6 fats, and they are 23%+ of our fat tissue!
*"As eggs age, both the yolk and the tight white membranes will get thinner and more fragile. At the same time, the tight white will leak moisture into the loose white, diluting the loose white further and causing it to become even runnier."
The breeds you buy for hobby egg production tend to more general purpose. You are correct in that they are less feed efficient.
About them breaking down over time, that hasn't been my experience. Eggs keep a long time, and at certain times of the year my parents have far more than they can eat. Even after 6-8 weeks in the fridge, the yolks have the same texture and color.
I've seen very firm yolks in the Philippines, where the farm to store time is hours, not days or weeks like in the US. Eggs aren't refrigerated there like they are here, which I found hard to accept, but it turns out that if you wash the eggs on the farm (as is required in the US), you have to refrigerate them. In the Philippines the eggs aren't washed, so they keep a protective coating that keeps the egg fresh without refrigeration.
According to this, it is an issue of salmonella:
UK eggs, for instance - which typically have more orange yolks than their American counterparts - are stored at room temperature, while those in the U.S. are required by law to be stored at lower than 45 degrees Fahrenheit in order to prevent the risk of Salmonella spreading.
British grocery stores and households do not refrigerate their eggs because 90per cent of store-bought eggs in the UK come from hens that have been vaccinated for salmonella.
edit: found it: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5325540
It's been almost 2 years. That information was very sticky.
They'll keep for a few months out of the fridge.
They are kept in the fridge only to keep the yolk firm and hard, it's not necessary to keep them from spoiling.
US FDA final egg rule requires the holding and transporting of shell eggs at or below 45F ambient temperature beginning 36 hours after time of lay.
At a producer of any volume, eggs are gathered 2x daily, generally by automated machinery; occasionally still gathered by hand. Eggs are gathered as soon as hens lay them because warmer temperatures encourage physical/chemical changes that affect "freshness" adversely.
Justification of refrigeration can be found in the response to public comments on FDA final egg rule (where SE = salmonella) :
The 36-hour limit for unrefrigerated holding is supported by a model, contained in the 1998 joint SE risk assessment (Ref. 21), which was developed to examine the relationship among holding time, holding temperature, and yolk membrane breakdown as an indicator of SE risk. (The yolk membrane separates the nutrient-rich yolk and any SE bacteria that might be present in the albumen; breakdown or loss of the yolk membrane results in rapid growth of SE present in the albumen.) The model showed that, at 70 to 90 °F (i.e., temperatures that might be observed in unrefrigerated egg holding areas in farms or warehouses or in transport vehicles), there was much less breakdown of yolk membrane in eggs held no longer than 36 hours than in eggs held no longer than 72 hours. According to the model, eggs held at 70°F will experience at least a 16-percent breakdown of yolk membrane after 36 hours and a 25-percent breakdown after 72 hours. Eggs held at 80 °F will suffer at least a 22-percent breakdown after 36 hours and a 39-percent breakdown in the yolk membrane at 72 hours. At 90 °F, there is at least a 33-percent breakdown after 36 hours and at least a 62-percent breakdown of the yolk membrane after 72 hours.
: [pdf] http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2009-07-09/pdf/E9-16119.pdf
What is the basis for your claims?
I've personally kept US eggs unrefrigerated for 2 months with no problems - none of them were spoiled.
Refrigeration is mainly for freshness (i.e. yolk firmness). It's not necessary to prevent spoiling.
Isn't salmonella more of a US problem? It's not that the eggs will spoil, it's that the salmonella will reach a level that makes people sick if you don't overcook the egg.
Again, do you have any sort of credible scientific basis behind your claims?
Some people like deep rich orange colour; others prefer bright pale yellow.
The "standing tall in the pan" is just a fresh egg.
As a former back yard chicken owner, I can confirm the startling difference between typical store-bought eggs and fresh eggs when grass/greens are in season. They taste cleaner, as well.
The nearly-neon orange/yellow yolks are quite a sight. Over the past 15 years or so, I've noticed many mid-range egg brands seeming to have darker yolks, likely from some additive to the feed explicitly for that purpose -- kinda like dyeing cheddar cheese orange.
P.S. here was Frenzs vs. a local farmers market in L.A. a few years ago: https://www.flickr.com/photos/abecedarius/4625809089/
"Joel told me that when he first began selling eggs to chefs, he found himself apologizing for their pallid hue in winter; the yolks would lose their rich orange color when the chickens came in off the pasture in November. Then he met a chef who told him not to worry about it. The chef explained that in cooking school in Switzerland he’d been taught recipes that specifically called for April eggs, August eggs, and December eggs. Some seasons produce better yolks, others better whites, and chefs would adjust their menus accordingly."
Almost all of my meat (beef, lamb, goat, and pork) is similarly purchased from small producers I personally know; often my family and I butcher the animals ourselves. This approach is a win in terms of quality, cost, humane treatment of animals, and satisfaction.
Having a connection to my food and the people who produce it is, to me, reason enough to prefer living in fly-over country vs. San Francisco. All the fresh air, open land, and lower stress environment doesn't hurt either.
It makes me sad that NPR is slowly turning into just another mouthpiece.
I doubt it saves me any money, but it's fun and provides lots of "organic pasture-raised" eggs and compost.
Works out well for the chickens and for us.
Hmm, I wonder if they like lemons...
> The egg industry has been conducting blind tastings for years. The only difference is that they don't use dish-towel blindfolds; they have special lights that mask the color of the yolks. "If people can see the difference in the eggs, they also find flavor differences," Curtis says. "But if they have no visual cues, they don't."
> Only one factor can markedly affect an egg's taste, and that is the presence of strong flavors in the feed. "Omega-3 eggs can sometimes have a fishy taste if the hens are fed marine oils,"
> It was pretty clear evidence that as far as eggs go, the mindset of the taster has far more bearing on the flavor of the egg than the egg itself.
Journal of Product and Brand Management:
> Respondents indicated that darker yolk color results in better taste, whereas results of a blind taste test indicated that consumers were not able to distinguish any significant difference in the taste of different types of eggs and yolk colors (Fearne and Lavelle, 1996b). Similarly, respondents indicated that brown regular and specialty eggs are tastier than white regular eggs. Fearne and Lavelle (1996b) reported that in a blind test consumers could not make a distinction between the tastes of regular and specialty eggs.
It's an extremely potent example of confirmation bias since even people who are normally quite science minded and skeptical somehow find loopholes that exempt their personal experience as not conforming to the data when confronted with evidence that their fancy eggs taste no better.
Their comparison chart gives a good overview of the program, but here are a few key facts:
* It's a completely independent organization, that maintains that independence very intentionally.
* It has rigorous compliance and inspection requirements, and everything about the program is transparent and available online.
* The birds are required to be out of doors at least 6-hours per day, every day, year round, with 108 sq. ft. per bird.
Animal Welfare Approved is another good, independent and transparent program, but I've never actually seen them in a grocery store.
If you are in the sf bay, nola, la, or nyc, check it out at http://goodeggs.com
Here is the SF egg section (we deliver to sf, east bay, and the peninsula)
I think about that now every time I see a pleasing, healthy-looking, tasty-looking deeply yellow yolk on my plate.
I've cut down on my calcium supplement usage by drying and crushing the eggshells and giving those to the birds.
Seems like there's potential to get prion diseases there. Are chickens susceptible to prion diseases?
Maybe compost the shells, then grow collards, kale and turnips in the soil and feed the less-appetising greens to the chickens?
My understanding of Mad Cow was that the prions involved were ones which were allowed to pass the blood/brain boundary, which keeps arbitrary chemicals in food from having a big effect on our neurological state. (Drugs like MDMA imitate certain chemicals used by the brain and are thus allowed to pass by.) One of the reasons cannibalism - especially when brains are involved - is that the brain proteins look like your brain proteins, and are thus expected to be on the 'brain' side of the boundary. So when cows eat dead cow brains, they get serious neurological diseases, just like human cannibals are known to. Prions may be arbitrary bad proteins, but they're especially problematic in the case of eating brains.
Up until now the med student in me had the jerk reaction that "organic" meant carbon-based (+ nightmares from ochem), which applies to almost everything we eat.
An additional note from the organic egg scorecard, linked from the article, is that store-brand eggs tend to come from farms with poor conditions:
> However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.
There is no exact definition, because it's hard to define.
>No Hormones... It's like putting a label on a cereal box that says, "No toxic waste."
Turns out all that work outside is just as gratifying without the electronic hassles I imagined I'd bring to it.
I sell eggs from chickens which I believe have the best possible life, and I hesitate to use most of the terms listed here, even the most positive ones, because of their lackluster connotations. I know what "free range" means in the minimal application of the spectrum, so where my birds have acres to forage for food, someone else may not be so generous. I don't want us classified under the same umbrella. So I invite all my customers to come and see where their food is grown, in the environment where I believe it should all optimally come from.
And yes, the eggs are healthier, firmer, and last longer (not refrigerated) and vary depending on what the chickens have foraged that day. Not to mention the beautiful rainbow of their shells, which vary depending on the breed.
That's funny! I planned on doing exactly the same thing when I started keeping chickens about 6 years ago. I got as far as building an LED lamp to add extra light to keep them laying in winter. Never used it (except to check up on them at night).
I guess if I was doing this commercially it would be worthwhile, but for a hobby flock of a dozen it hardly makes sense.
* GMOs tend to promote monoculture and pesticide use.
* Studies have shown that the same developments that make GMOs more insect resistant can also make them more difficult to digest.
* When it comes to animals, GMOs tend to have much poorer quality of life and tend to be completely incapable of surviving without constant support (chickens who can't stand on their own, cows who can't go more than 48 hours without milking, etc).
* GMOs almost never focus on the true value of a food item, but rather the sell value. A food that looks nutritious is more valuable than one that actually is and GMOs make it easier to create that false association (deep red tomatos that taste like wall paper glue, etc).
It's important to note that all of these things are really a byproduct of industrial agriculture, but many people associate them more directly with GMOs. I think the development of GMOs is a completely normal part of our agriculture and has been for thousands of years, we just need to make sure we're responsible about it.
That's true for industrialized agriculture in general and not specific to GMOs. Growing GMOs doesn't promote monoculture or pesticide use any more than growing conventional crops do. In fact the same farmers that grow GMOs often grow conventional crops at the same time, or switch from year to year, with very little change in their practices.
> * Studies have shown that the same developments that make GMOs more insect resistant can also make them more difficult to digest.
Without knowing what studies those are, it's impossible for me to rebut or defend it. I will say, the record on studies that claim to show that GMOs have safety issues is not a good one (http://academicsreview.org/2012/09/scientists-smell-a-rat-in...)
> * When it comes to animals, GMOs tend to have much poorer quality of life and tend to be completely incapable of surviving without constant support (chickens who can't stand on their own, cows who can't go more than 48 hours without milking, etc).
I am not aware of any GM livestock in use. Monsanto, the bogeyman of anti-GMO activists, does not research or produce GM animals. AFAIK the only GM animals on the market are things like glowing goldfish.
> * GMOs almost never focus on the true value of a food item, but rather the sell value. A food that looks nutritious is more valuable than one that actually is and GMOs make it easier to create that false association (deep red tomatos that taste like wall paper glue, etc).
Again this is a broader symptom of industrialized food production and is not related to GMOs. Yes, there are GM traits that are meant to do what you expect (e.g. the Flavr Savr tomato which was a commercial flop, and the Arctic Apple which is just recently rolling out) but this is a trend that goes back decades.
The Open Source Seed Initiative is doing some really cool work to change this, and sits at an interesting place in the GMO debate. But barring a huge amount of institutional and policy support, I'm sticking on the side of banning GMO's.
This is emphatically not true, unless you mean it in the trivial sense (where "monsantos" are "any companies funding GMO seed development".)
Its not quite as inaccurate as saying the microsofts of the world are the only people really funding software development, but its the same kind of inaccurate.
I am sure we do not we need genetic manipulation to create such animals (regular breeding does 'wonders', too) and do not know of any case where we used GM here. Care to elaborate?
Then again, GMOs and conventional breeding taken to a commercial extreme get tangled so often it's hard to separate them in these sorts of arguments.
A more nutritious food that nobody wants to eat is a food that is not of improved value.
> Many of them have nothing to do with the fact that the product is GMO:
Then they aren't logical reasons to be against GMOs, though they may (or may not) be logical reasons to be against particular GMOs.
> * GMOs tend to promote monoculture and pesticide use.
GMOs may or may not do this. This really depends on what they are designed for -- GMOs designed to be well adapted to particular growing conditions don't promote monoculture, since you'll prefer different ones for different growing conditions.
Insect resistance isn't the only feature GMOs are designed for, and that is -- at most -- a reason to be against GMOs designed for that particular feature in food roles.
Again, that's an argument against the specific features, not against GMOs.
That's an argument against capitalism, not GMOs.
> It's important to note that all of these things are really a byproduct of industrial agriculture, but many people associate them more directly with GMOs.
That makes them illogical, even if understandable reasons to be against GMOs.
It's that simple
GMOs, surely, are just a technology
- Robert Bellé, Ph.D., French National Center for Scientific Research
- Dan Glickman, US Secretary of Agriculture, 1995-2000
- John Hoffman, Vice President of the American Soybean Association
- Richard Burroughs, D.V.M, FDA Veterinarian, 1979-1989
- James Maryanski, Ph.D., Biotechnology Coordinator at the FDA, 1985-2006
- Michael Hansen, Ph.D., Senior Staff Scientist of the Consumers Union
- Samuel Epstein, Ph.D., President of the Cancer Prevention Coalition
- David Carpenter, Ph.D., University of Albany
Which European country is that? Battery cages are banned in the EU, but caged hens are still permitted as long as the space in the cage meets EU welfare standards.
Of course, any pre-fabricated food will still contain caged eggs since that doesn't have to be declared in the ingredients.
However, I don't want to be a "beta tester" of such food in the 2-10 decades it will take to perfect it. When there's been 3 decades or independent reviews for a particular lab-grown food, then you can start putting it in local supermarkets where everyone can buy it without giving a moment's thought about whether that food is "safe to eat or not?". I think it's the government's jobs to ensure it doesn't happen earlier than that.
* Battery cages: Banned
* "Caged hens": Cage size must be at least 750 cm^2. Must have sand, a nest, and a stick to sit on.
* "Free range indoors": Floor space must be at least 1,111 cm^2 per hen. 1/3 of the floor area must be sand or similar. Must have access to a nest, at least 15 cm of stick to sit on.
* "Free range outdoors": At least 1,111 cm^2 space per hen. Must have access to an outdoors area of at least 4m^2 per hen. Same sand/nest/sitting stick rules as indoors.
* "Organic": At least 1,664 cm^2 space per hen. Outdoors area of at least 4m^2 per hen. Outdoors area must have grass growing. 1/3 of floor area must have sand or similar, must have a nest, must have a sitting stick of at least 18 cm. Must be fed with organic feed.
* "KRAV Organic certified": Organic + Must have access to root vegetables to eat at. The farm can't be leaking stuff from the fertilizer into the surrounding nature.
Many of the large supermarket chains have stopped selling caged eggs completely, which now make up less than 10% of sold eggs. Around 12% are organic.
Swedish eggs are 100% salmonella-free.
Interesting! How do they accomplish this?
> Pasture-raised birds spend most of their life outdoors, with a fair amount of space plus access to a barn. Many are able to eat a diet of worms, insects and grass, along with corn feed...
The subliminal (and fake) statement in all those articles is that the chicken are a sort of "small little people crying" living very sad lives because they don't live like humans do. This is simply terrible.
Living in a farm, even in the best of farms, at Texas or New Jersey, could be perfectly claimed as a totally artificial and unnatural live for the point of view of a chicken. They are rainforest birds "cruelly" placed at deserts or in states with harsh winters living inside for 6 months a year. There are many reasons because a chicken could not to want to go outside. The claimed "because the farmer is a jerk" is wrong often.
They can do this because they are adaptable, and they just don't care so much as we do. But this is NOT natural for this species. If we really wish that chickens live "happy chicken lives" maybe we should grow them only in countries like Venezuela or Brazil...
But anyways, this is just more confirmation these jargons in labels mean almost anything useful for the general public. The article reminded me that funny "natural effect" videos  and also that the whole GMO labelling issue that still make people argue.
And in the end of the day, all I have seen so far is a lot of fear mongering and no debate wether real useful information should be added to labels, like 'how far and for how long did this food traveled', 'how long was it kept in storage' and so on...
It's articles like these that make me love coming to HN, regardless of the fact that there's no "hacking" per se.
Even this Q & A is not the most straightforward on what the antibiotic process is, instead hiding behind 'meets FDA regulations'.
A quote from one of the studies on that page:
"Three n-3 PUFA-enriched eggs provide approximately the same amount of n-3 PUFA as one meal with fish.""
Good article. Nothing new to see here though. Hopefully this will wake up some people though who exclusively go for the brand name stuff at Whole Foods.
Oooh, industrial barns...
"And often, Kastel says, industrial fans that suck..."
Oooh, industrial fans. As opposed to the ones that grow on trees.
"One of the most common causes of death was pecking by other chickens."
You mean we give them more freedom, and they kill each other? I thought 'natural' was meant to mean all rainbows and happiness and shit.
They are in crowded conditions. Humans do the same things will kept locked up in crowded conditions.
What are you arguing is akin to saying that humans need to be locked up in solitary confinement because if you keep them "free" in close quarters they will start committing acts of violence against each other. You would have a hard time arguing that the Japanese in US/Canadian "relocation centres" should have been kept in solitary confinement because there were instances of "inmate-on-inmate" violence/rape.
Many animals do. Goats are downright nasty little shits with each-other, if they have horns (even w/o)
Hens very much have a "pecking order", and can be pretty brutal to one another even with ample space to roam and feed. Don't get me started on most roosters, though we did raise some that were downright gentlemanly to their ladies. Quail in crowded conditions (we raised Coturnix) can damned near skin each-other alive if a sufficiently picked-on bird gets too damaged.
Either bird will pick at open wounds on others. Not certain what that behavior was about, but is ain't good for the birds in either case.
I somehow doubt that you've actually talked to many vs. just holding some gross generalization of an idea about what "those people" think.
That said, I don't think continuing this thread further provides any value, and has the potential to just devolve into a flame war for various reasons.
Yes, as in "not the red family farm barn they have on the packaging".
> You mean we give them more freedom, and they kill each other? I thought 'natural' was meant to mean all rainbows and happiness and shit.
Imagine a prison where you've replaced all the individual cells with one big cramped holding cell. Violence will break out.
I'm saying chicken/dairy/etc. producers will happily use this stereotypical image in their marketing, but the reality of how they're raising the animals is very different.
-Land O Lakes butter is not hand delivered by pretty Native American ladies.
-Tigers don't actually eat Frosted Flakes and you should not let them play baseball with your children.
-Many, many, many other examples of the gap between marketing and reality.