News

03-04-2016

Free-range eggs are estimated to have over 39% of the market and  attract a premium price over barn and cage eggs.   The definition of  "free-range" remains misleading despite Consumer Affairs Ministers recently meeting to clarify the term, they voted to allow eggs from hens that do not go outside and have high stocking densities to continue to be branded 'free-range'. ( free-range can now mean eggs produced by hens stocked at up to 10,000 birds per hectare, not the maximum of 1500 birds per hectare that the CSIRO Model Code recommends and the egg carton must display stocking densities, but there is no requirement for the chickens to actually go outside). There is some evidence that the diet of the chicken does have some effect on the nutritional content of the egg laid, particularly regarding the amount of omega 3 fatty acids. 

Egg facts:

 

  • All have a high nutritional content, providing 11 different minerals and vitamins ( including B12), high quality protein, healthy fats and antioxidants (two of the carotenoids are under study for their role in preventing macular degeneration of the eye). They are also convenient and easy to prepare. Some athletes and body builders discard the yolk and eat only the egg white as it contains 5g of protein and are low fat, it is worth remembering the yolk contains the iron. a whole egg contains a modest 355 kilojoules.
  • Were thought bad for your serum cholesterol, but it is now known that they contain little saturated fat, no trans fats and omega 3 fatty acids of proven benefit to cardiovascular health. The Heart Foundation guidelines suggests individuals can consume up to six eggs per week without adversely affecting cardiovascular outcomes. For the past 20 years, nutrition and medical research has shown repeatedly that at normal intakes dietary cholesterol has little influence on a person's blood cholesterol level.
  • Can carry salmonella and listeria bacteria through the dirt or poo on the outside shell. Foods made with raw or minimally cooked eggs are the most common cause of food-bourne salmonella outbreaks in Australia. bacteria on the shell of the egg can find its way into the egg as you break it and some people wash their eggs before using them to reduce this risk, it is advised to wash your hands after handing raw eggs. Cooks may use the plastic egg-separators to reduce the contact between the outside shell and contents. Pregnant women are advised to avoid raw egg products due to the possibility of contamination with listeria ( a soil organism)
  • Are perishable and  are best stored in the fridge in their cartons ( to reduce the chance of absorbing strongly flavoured and smelling foods) and have clear use-by dates. To determine whether an egg is fresh, placing the egg in a bowl of water and the fresh egg will sink according to the Australian Egg Corporation.

 

 

 

CHOICE , the consumer's organisation has launched a free-range egg campaign to help make "free-range" more meaningful Their research clearly shows that consumers believe it is important that the birds actually go outside regularly, move comfortably when they are both outside and inside and that farmers undertake animal welfare practices in the production of their eggs. The standards and labelling should reflect these expectations. For more information, see choice.com.au

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