Sunday, August 22, 2010

Yesterday I was asked what I thought about the current egg recall because of salmonella outbreaks. Especially since some of those Iowa battery hen eggs made it to California.

Well, what I think is that our food system is convoluted. And food producers are often driven by profit at the complete expense of other values. And government inspection and labeling standards are woefully inadequate.

Here are a couple of places to learn more about egg labeling:

a nice blog article

and a discussion from the bird's perspective

I did learn, looking at the carton in my fridge, that eggs carry the same state codes as dairy - 06 for California. But this may just be carton lingo (it's part of the printed egg carton in my fridge), as apparently the stamped code on the end of the carton - a number preceded by the letter P - is the real info about the plant, a number assigned by the USDA.

Also, I don't know what "produced" on an egg carton means. I'd like to think it refers to the hen's efforts, but maybe it's where they were sorted and packed. I doubt the eggs in that carton really came from Petaluma, the former egg capital of the universe, since so few eggs are produced (in the hen sense) there anymore.

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