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  • Discussion about eggs and labeling

    I thought I understood the labeling bullshit fairly well that goes on out there; I have written a few articles on this topic before. However, I am not sure that I completely understand the latest labeling changes with eggs.

    If someone is looking for free-range eggs that are NOT fed grain (corn), are they labeled free range if they are "free to roam" but still have access to eat grain/corn? Or are they only considered free range if they ONLY eat grass?

    What is the definition of being fed a "vegetable diet"? This may seem stupid but some people consider grain a vegetable and as sneaky as labeling is these days, I would hate to eat eggs labeled "vegetable fed" if they were eating corn, as well.

    Organic is pretty clear what with not using hormones, antibiotics, etc.. That is pretty common practice these days. "Natural" is a new word that is being used a LOT in reference to chickens being fed a "natural diet" on the labels. How is a "natural diet" defined?

    If you have any solid information or feedback, please let me know.

    Skip


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  • #2
    This has been my problem from the get go with the entire natural food movement: There is no clear definition of marketing terms.

    Eggs are probably the most confusing, followed by meats, and then plants.

    My point has been - given that one can say pretty much what they want to, wrt the various marketing terms, how can you ever know what you're buying short of raising your own shit?

    Comment


    • #3
      OMG I never should have opened this thread. . .

      haha this makes my head hurt and is totally messing with my OCD.

      I have never thought about this before. . . and now I have found something new to occupy my brain for the next. . . forever.

      JessicaG

      Comment


      • #4
        Eggs are especially tricky, with the way things can be worded. For example I was buying "Organic Valley" Free range organic eggs for a while. I noticed on their site, where they talk about their practices this paragraph.
        An exception to our access to the outdoors standard is made for our egg farmer-owner in California, where California Department of Agriculture veterinarians strongly advocate that birds not have free-range outdoor access because of the serious risk of Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease transmission. Their organic certifier, Oregon Tilth, approves of their outdoor access practices: screened houses with exceptional air quality, lots of natural light, roosts for the birds, and the houses meet Organic Valley’s standard of 1.75 square feet of indoor space per bird. Our staff have also visited the farm and have found the birds to be healthy and look great. It is important to note that our farmers take responsibility for setting their own farm standards and policies, and they are the ones to approve exceptions.
        Now I understand the why, but that isn't free range to me. Part of being free range is having the ability to forage for bugs, and insects, things which are in their natural diet. As I understand it, chickens need more than grass to eat.

        Honestly, anyone's best bet, if you can't have your own chickens, is developing a relationship with a local rancher/farmer. Most will let you visit the farm, and see what they have going on, and you can get a feel for their ethics, and such. It is hard to beat the quality. The difference between a farm fresh free range egg, and even the high quality supermarket free range eggs is huge.

        I found a local rancher who I get eggs, chicken, beef, and pork(has lamb too), and the quality is unbelievable.

        Comment


        • #5
          I may go the route of a local rancher, as well, but I still want to try to understand the labeling because I get a lot of questions about this and I honestly am not convinced I have very good answers.

          Isn't there someone out there in the egg business that might know? lol

          Skip


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          • #6
            This seems to answer most of your questions and is pretty in line with the impression I was under based on past research.
            http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/...gg_labels.html

            Comment


            • #7
              http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/...labeling-terms

              BASTED or SELF BASTED:
              Bone-in poultry products that are injected or marinated with a solution containing butter or other edible fat, broth, stock or water plus spices, flavor enhancers and other approved substances must be labeled as basted or self basted. The maximum added weight of approximately 3% solution before processing is included in the net weight on the label. Label must include a statement identifying the total quantity and common or usual name of all ingredients in the solution, e.g., "Injected with approximately 3% of a solution of ____________ (list of ingredients)."

              Use of the terms "basted" or "self-basted" on boneless poultry products is limited to 8% of the weight of the raw poultry before processing.

              [Top of Page]

              CERTIFIED:
              The term "certified" implies that the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Agriculture Marketing Service have officially evaluated a meat product for class, grade, or other quality characteristics (e.g., "Certified Angus Beef"). When used under other circumstances, the term must be closely associated with the name of the organization responsible for the "certification" process, e.g., "XYZ Company's Certified Beef."

              [Top of Page]

              CHEMICAL FREE:
              The term is not allowed to be used on a label.

              [Top of Page]

              FREE RANGE or FREE ROAMING:
              Producers must demonstrate to the Agency that the poultry has been allowed access to the outside.

              [Top of Page]

              FRESH POULTRY:
              "Fresh" means whole poultry and cuts have never been below 26 °F (the temperature at which poultry freezes). This is consistent with consumer expectations of "fresh" poultry, i.e., not hard to the touch or frozen solid.

              In 1997, FSIS began enforcing a final rule prohibiting the use of the term "fresh" on the labeling of raw poultry products whose internal temperature has ever been below 26 °F.

              The temperature of individual packages of raw poultry products labeled "fresh" can vary as much as 1 °F below 26 °F within inspected establishments or 2 °F below 26 °F in commerce.

              Fresh poultry should always bear a "keep refrigerated" statement.

              [Top of Page]

              FROZEN POULTRY:
              Temperature of raw, frozen poultry is 0 °F or below.

              [Top of Page]

              FRYER-ROASTER TURKEY:
              Young, immature turkey usually less than 16 weeks of age of either sex.

              [Top of Page]

              HALAL and ZABIAH HALAL:
              Products prepared by federally inspected meat packing plants identified with labels bearing references to "Halal" or "Zabiah Halal" must be handled according to Islamic law and under Islamic authority.

              [Top of Page]

              HEN or TOM TURKEY:
              The sex designation of "hen" (female) or "tom" (male) turkey is optional on the label, and is an indication of size rather than the tenderness of a turkey.

              [Top of Page]

              KOSHER:
              "Kosher" may be used only on the labels of meat and poultry products prepared under rabbinical supervision.

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              "MEAT" DERIVED BY ADVANCED MEAT/BONE SEPARATION AND MEAT RECOVERY SYSTEMS:
              The definition of "meat" was amended in December 1994 to include as "meat" product derived from advanced meat/bone separation machinery which is comparable in appearance, texture and composition to meat trimmings and similar meat products derived by hand. Product produced by advanced meat recovery (AMR) machinery can be labeled using terms associated with hand-deboned product, e.g., "beef" or "pork" trimmings and ground "beef" or "pork." The AMR machinery cannot grind, crush or pulverize bones to remove edible meat tissue and bones must emerge essentially intact. The meat produced in this manner can contain no more than 130 milligrams of calcium per 100 grams product. Product that exceeds the calcium content limit must be labeled "mechanically separated beef or pork."

              [Top of Page]

              MECHANICALLY SEPARATED MEAT
              is a paste-like and batter-like meat product produced by forcing bones with attached edible meat under high pressure through a sieve or similar device to separate the bone from the edible meat tissue. In 1982, a final rule published by FSIS on mechanically separated meat said it was safe and established a standard of identity for the food product. Some restrictions were made on how much can be used and the type of products in which it can be used. These restrictions were based on concerns for limited intake of certain components in MSM, like calcium. Due to FSIS regulations enacted in 2004 to protect consumers against Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, mechanically separated beef is considered inedible and is prohibited for use as human food. However, mechanically separated pork is permitted and must be labeled as "mechanically separated pork" in the ingredients statement.

              [Top of Page]

              MECHANICALLY SEPARATED POULTRY
              is a paste-like and batter-like poultry product produced by forcing bones with attached edible tissue through a sieve or similar device under high pressure to separate bone from the edible tissue. Mechanically separated poultry has been used in poultry products since 1969. In 1995, a final rule on mechanically separated poultry said it would be used without restrictions. However, it must be labeled as "mechanically separated chicken or mechanically separated turkey" (depending on the kind of poultry used) in the ingredients statement. The final rule became effective November 4, 1996.

              [Top of Page]

              NATURAL:
              A product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed. Minimal processing means that the product was processed in a manner that does not fundamentally alter the product. The label must include a statement explaining the meaning of the term natural (such as "no artificial ingredients; minimally processed").

              [Top of Page]

              NO HORMONES (pork or poultry):
              Hormones are not allowed in raising hogs or poultry. Therefore, the claim "no hormones added" cannot be used on the labels of pork or poultry unless it is followed by a statement that says "Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones."

              [Top of Page]

              NO HORMONES (beef):
              The term "no hormones administered" may be approved for use on the label of beef products if sufficient documentation is provided to the Agency by the producer showing no hormones have been used in raising the animals.

              [Top of Page]

              NO ANTIBIOTICS (red meat and poultry):
              The terms "no antibiotics added" may be used on labels for meat or poultry products if sufficient documentation is provided by the producer to the Agency demonstrating that the animals were raised without antibiotics.

              [Top of Page]

              ORGANIC:
              For information about the National Organic Program and use of the term "organic" on labels, refer to these factsheets from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service:

              Organic Food Standards and Labels: The Facts
              Labeling and Marketing Information (PDF Only)
              [Top of Page]

              OVEN PREPARED:
              Product is fully cooked and ready to eat.

              [Top of Page]

              YOUNG TURKEY:
              Turkeys of either sex that are less than 8 months of age according to present regulations.

              [Top of Page]
              -S
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              Comment


              • #8
                And here is the link to the "organic" guidelines. It's pdf only.

                http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getf...cct=nopgeninfo

                The idiocy of the bureaucrat-heavy federal government is about as prominent in the USDA as one will ever see. Well, outside the FDA anyhow.

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