United Egg Producers Modern Farming Conference 2010

MomBlogger turned Scientist!  :)  Laugh out loud for sure.  I am not mad scientist.  Yet, these pictures may fool you.  We learned so much!

Recently, I attended the United Egg Producers ("UEP") "Animal Welfare Summit" in Tampa Bay, Florida.  UEP let us know that they wanted to introduce us to the farms of caged eggs and cage-free eggs and take us to tour the farms.  After the largest salmonella outbreak in history this Summer, I was happy to get to learn firsthand. And I wanted to confirm my suspicion that all egg farms are not created and run equally.  I did.  We were fortunate enough to visit Florida Farms similar to this Clean Living Henhouse in the New York Times. 

Being a Mom who loves cooking and anything organic, farms, healthy living and more, I was eager to learn.  Immediately I accepted.  I was fascinated with the idea of getting all of this information personally and getting to tour the farms!  Plus, it meant I got to make the trip with another awesome MomBlogger and Colleague, Jen of One Mom's World!  In fact, we got to travel together.  We had a blast especially had a lot of laughs down on the farms.  We also met up with Lauren from Mom Central and other MomBloggers and Media. 

The night we arrived it was wonderful to meet all of the team.  I was thrilled one of first people I met was the President and CEO Gene Gregory (photo in previous post) who is such an all-American man kinda guy who also happens to be a major star in the egg industry.  Gene had us laughing so much.  As MomBloggers, we felt a connection to Gene because he too is a family man and he, Jen and I talked much about our families and, of course, eggs.  

Then it was intriguing to meet and get to hear these scientists speak at the Conference.  They are well educated in their fields of expertise. 

Peter Holt, of the USDA-Agricultural Research Service was there to talk with us about the Impact of Different Housing Systems on Egg Safety and Quality.  To be a bunch of Scientists, everyone we met was so interesting, kind and fun.

Patricia Hester, Ph.D., Professor, Animal Sciences Purdue University 

Krista Eberle, B.S.  Purdue U. and Master's from Purdue and Mississippi State U.  Director of Food Safety Programs at UEP. 

We learned how much work and effort goes into keeping the barns and birds disease free, clean and safe. There is great effort, planning and expense involved.  So no wonder so many eggs are really great and contamination free.

I mean look at us Southern Girls in our bioscience outfits on the farm! :)  Hilarious!  I am still laughing when we look at these.  You should have seen a bus load of MomBloggers and Media shimmying into these pretty little numbers.  As our leader Chris said, "these are the great equalizer!" :)

Modern Egg Farming Conference and Tour 2010

In this image, you see the President of Simpson Egg Farm in Florida, Wilton Simpson.  He was very informative and open to us visiting and learning about his Farms.

United Egg Producers Certified - Egg cartons and products carrying this seal have been produced under strict scientific animal welfare standards.  Hens can be housed in either conventional cage or cage-free barns.  There is no nutrient difference from cage-free, free range or organic eggs.

Cage - Eggs (shown above with Farm Owner) are from hens that have their own space caged.  They are very clean and their space is clean and maintained with thermostats.  Their barn is protecting them from the elements and critters out doors if you know what I mean.  This was very clean and I will admit I was surprised. 

Cage Free - Eggs are from hens that live on the floor of a barn rather than cages. There is no nutrient content difference from conventional cage production, free range or organic eggs.

Okay, here is what I learned about the Cage Free hens.  They are roaming around each other and like to stick together.  So they are all on top of each other and ultimately their is a cage to contain them within their space.

There is also no nutritional value difference between cage and cage free chickens.

Free Range - Eggs are from hens that either live outdoors or have some access to the outdoors. There is no nutrient difference from conventional cage production, cage-free or organic eggs. 

Organic - Eggs are from hens that are fed an all-vegetarian diet that was grown without any herbicides, commercial fertilizers or fungicides. The nutrient content is not affected by whether or not the feed is organic. 

Brown Eggs vs. White Eggs - Brown eggs are produced by brown-feathered hens. They can be produced in any of the systems listed above. There is no nutrient difference between brown and white eggs fed identical diets.  There is a big price point difference of course.  

Enlightening indeed!  What are your preferences regarding eggs?  Did you know all of these facts?  Please let me know your questions as UEP is happy to answer and even Wilton Simpson from the farms in Florida.  Also, Mr. Simpson invited anyone to visit who is interested.  They had nothing to hide. Do you have questions?  Thanks for visiting. 

Warmly, Carolina Mama

*UEP sponsored our trip and all expenses, this article is voluntary and the opinions here are my recap of all I learned on this informative trip.

1 comment:

Net Strand said...

Reminds me of Napoleon Dynamite and where I grew up in Colorado. They had egg producers there, but not this high-tech.