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Court says no difference in cage-free eggs

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has determined that cage-free eggs are no more safe or nutritious than eggs from chickens in other types of housing.  According to a report in Food Safety News, the decision from the three-judge panel favors government food safety agencies on questions of egg carton labeling.

The plaintiffs were animal rights groups Compassion over Killing and the Animal Legal Defense Fund.  They tried to persuade the judges that caged hens produce eggs that are not only nutritionally inferior, but that carry a greater risk of Salmonella contamination.

The Food and Drug Administration, one of the defendants, found studies presented by the animal activists provide insufficient evidence that eggs from caged hens have a higher incidence of Salmonella.

Cage-free eggs are in demand because many retailers and restaurant chains have promised to stop using eggs produced by caged hens. Many have set 2025 as a target for making the switch.

Industry estimates are that producers will have to invest $9 to $10 billion to switch to cage-free housing to meet demand for cage-free eggs. Cage-free eggs currently cost $1 to $2 more per dozen than eggs from hens kept in cages.

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  • The main difference they can claim is the taste. If it is better or not is entirely in the opinion of the consumer.

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