Thoughts on the Egg Recall

battery hens

Since news first broke about the massive egg recall, eggs seem to be all folks are talking about. The big questions are: how did this salmonella contamination happen, and what can we do about it?

Factory Farming

There seems to be agreement that factory farming conditions are largely to blame for the salmonella-related recalls. Industrially raised chickens live in terrible, unsanitary conditions crammed into “battery cages” where they have little room to move and disease spreads easily.

Not only are these conditions unsanitary, they’re cruel. Battery hens endure debeaking, where workers literally cut the tips off of their beaks, since there’s a danger that hens will peck each other in such close quarters.

An investigative report from East Bay Animal Advocates highlights what life is like for these hens:

Egg Free Life

Over at OpEd News, Kathy Malloy wrote an excellent piece about how factory farming has gotten the egg industry where it is and even suggests some ways to keep factory farmed eggs out of our kitchens. I totally agree that if you’re going to eat eggs, looking to raise your own or finding a local farmer you trust are fine ways to do that.

The thing that got me about Malloy’s piece was the long introduction that made egg free life sound so horrible:

Without eggs and their amazing properties of stabilization and emulsification, there would be no chocolate chip cookies, no birthday cake, no ice cream, no hollandaise sauce, no chewy macaroons, no fruit-filled pavlova, no souffles, no lemon meringue pie,no crepes, custards or cream puffs! Our diet would be pretty sad without these perky little delicacies.

I can’t think of anything on her list that requires eggs. There’s no way I would have considered veganism if it meant giving up chocolate chip cookies!

Part of the reason factory farming is so widespread is that demand for eggs is incredibly high. If we’re going to reduce that demand, we need to cut back our dependence on eggs, and that’s a lot easier than many folks make it out to be.

If you’re looking to replace some (or all!) of the eggs in your diet, Jeannie Moulton wrote some excellent tips on vegan egg replacements. She explains the egg’s purpose in different sorts of recipes and how to substitute appropriately.

Has this egg recall changed your thinking about the eggs on your plate? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the recall in the comments!

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Farm Sanctuary

  1. Kat

    I totally agree about buying quality eggs, not just for ethical reasons, but also because they taste better! Cheap factory eggs are flavourless and gross on many levels. I pay about $7/dozen for farm eggs from my food co-op, which seems really expensive… until you realize it’s about 50 cents an egg. What else can you get for 50 cents these days? And how many of us think nothing of going out for brunch and spending $10 or more on the restaurant’s eggs?

    Also, nothing against vegan baking – I love it too – but I think you’d be hard-pressed to make a pavlova without eggs. :)

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