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Cage Eggs sold as free range

Posted by IngridO 
Cage Eggs sold as free range
March 17, 2017 04:57AM
Cage Eggs sold as free range

I read the recent article about a company that has been selling free range eggs to Countdown that were likely to have been laid by caged hens. This particular brand is what I regularly buy because they are priced well.

We put a lot of trust in companies and it seems the allegations are that this particular company has been trading for some time making a lot of money from deceit.

Journalists uncovered this story - But shouldn't the food industry or food standards agency be monitoring this sort of stuff?



Stuff.co.nz
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
March 17, 2017 01:48PM
John Campbell brought out a very relevant point on Checkpoint on National Radio yesterday. 'Free range' just means that hens have the ability to get out into the open air, but that doesn't mean that they are out in the open air. As one egg farmer with 30 years experience pointed out, in operations where they have hundreds or thousands of hens in a barn, where their food and water is, a hen is not going to make its way through the others to a patch of light in the distance, as they are by nature small flock birds, and stick together. His estimate was that some 80% of so-called 'free range' hens have never seen the light of day. So 'free range' is a very ill-defined term under current legislation. If you want to be sure, you really need to visit the farm and look - or so it seems!
J1
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
March 17, 2017 04:40PM
This sort of thing has been going on for years


[tvnz.co.nz]


[www.comcom.govt.nz]


[www.nzherald.co.nz]
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
March 17, 2017 04:51PM
Its also nothing new. I was not surprised by this.

[www.nzherald.co.nz]
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
March 17, 2017 05:11PM
I'm sorry to say I have always been very skeptical about items labelled 'free-range' (including chickens & pigs), or 'organic'. There simply aren't enough checks and balances to guarantee these claims and if there were, they would probably be triple the price as someone (you and I) has to pay for the processes required to gain such guarantees. Also, there will always be rogues jumping on the bandwagon to make money out of believers. I've lived long enough and in enough places to know that not everything is always as it seems, or is claimed to be.
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
March 17, 2017 06:35PM
I was also disappointed Ingrid, and thought there would be some checks for this labelling.

I guess there is the temptation to sell free range for the premium price. I have purchased this brand along with other free range eggs, mostly at supermarkets.

I am interested though Karena, J1, Plates and Lorna, if you avoid certain brands, have your own hens, or just accept the whole situation is complex and buy the cheapest price option.
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
March 17, 2017 06:57PM
just buy caged but not a big consumer of the egg - accept the circumstances and that producing food enmasse is difficult yet has to be cost effective for both farmer and consumer. I also think if we want people to reduce intake of sugary cereals, then their needs to be a cheap option in the egg range. I support the free range concept but dont think caged should be banned or phased out.
J1
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
March 17, 2017 09:45PM
I buy locally produced free range eggs knowing that free range can essentially mean what Karena mentioned - free to roam inside a barn, with little doors to the outside if they feel inclined to step out and knowing that, like humans, they're likely to spend most of their time indoors. I haven't knowingly bought caged since alternatives became available.

Edited to add that, having said that, I can drive along a Wairarapa road and see the chooks outside in the paddock. You can see them too if you go to Google maps and search 12 Evans Rd or 22 Evans Rd, Masterton and then pick up the little yellow man and walk along the road.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/17/2017 10:32PM by J1.
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
March 17, 2017 10:58PM
I, too was so disappointed in this rort. I guess I was naive about it. From now on I'll be buying my free range eggs from a local producer. Everyone from around here would know if that company lied. These eggs are available in just a couple of stores as the production is small.
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
March 18, 2017 12:28AM
Is that where "Wairarapa Eggs" come from, J1? Did I know that you are a Wairarapa local too? Also the brand I purchase, and yes, also aware of the restrictions of "free range" but still purchase as I think we have to lead producers towards what we want.
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
March 18, 2017 03:59AM
I can tell you with my hand on heart that Big Paddock eggs come from completely free range birds.
I have visited the farm 4-5 times and taken loads of photos and videos and those hens live a lovely life. They are outdoors all day long with streams and pine trees etc... to forage amongst and then locked into big sheds at night.
The doorways out of the shed are generous in size and I have been there in the morning to see them open and the hens come running out.
You can check out their Facebook page and see photos and videos that I have taken and I assure you they are not staged for the camera.
Big Paddock Facebook

I will write a blog about them over the weekend and post photos and videos for those that are not on Facebook.

Big Paddock eggs are available at Countdowns nationwide and some NWs. You can always ask your NW to order them as they are in the system.
J1
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
March 18, 2017 04:02AM
Griz, yes.
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
March 18, 2017 04:27AM
So glad to hear that, Helen. They are the ones in my fridge at the moment.
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
March 18, 2017 05:58AM
Otaika Valley are also pretty good as far as real free ranging goes.

[www.youtube.com]

We have 20 hens, but they don't lay during winter. I buy Whangaripo Valley (I think this the farm Big Paddock buys from, its local to me so can sometimes get their own branded boxes), Otaika Valley or something with a SPCA Blue Tick. While there isn't yet a government standard for free range eggs, the SPCA blue tick is at least something IMO.

[spcabluetick.org.nz]
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
March 20, 2017 03:37AM
Jenna you are right in that Whangaripo valley and Big Paddock are one in the same just different branding.
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
March 20, 2017 03:56PM
But how long before the remaining free range farmers can't supply the increased demand from supermarkets due to the gap left by scrupulous suppliers. They are still limited to the size of land they have.
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
March 22, 2017 04:21AM
Thanks Helen. Its so confusing - you read, you believe, you buy
I have always through free range means that chickens have this idyllic farm life, able to stroll around inside or outside, with a few friends but not too many!
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
March 22, 2017 04:17PM
Ingrid I would imagine that most free range farms have at least 20,000 birds... and that isn't the big ones.
However it does depend on how much space there is on the farm in terms of how much space the birds get.
Big Paddock seems to have a good ratio.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/22/2017 04:17PM by helen.
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
March 23, 2017 06:17AM
I buy free-range eggs directly from the poultry farmer at our Farmer's Market. And one thing that hasn't been mentioned, is that they are so much fresher than store-bought. Occasionally when I run out before market day I've bought free-range eggs from a supermarket, and they are often stale (ie yolks not firm, and whites that collapse when the egg is broken) Good to know about Big Paddock, though - I'll try them next time I run out!
J1
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
March 27, 2017 12:13AM
A new tool in the war against free range egg fraud:
[www.stuff.co.nz]
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
March 31, 2017 07:22PM
Another thought on this subject. I wonder how the people are feeling who have said with great conviction that they can taste the difference between free range eggs and the other kind.
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
March 31, 2017 08:21PM
Chris Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Another thought on this subject. I wonder how the
> people are feeling who have said with great
> conviction that they can taste the difference
> between free range eggs and the other kind.

I don't know if I should confess to this Chris but I actually did a real LOL at your post. I am budget driven with my eggs so can't comment. I know when I lived in the country and we had our own hens, there was a noticeable difference in the egg. But when I have 'free range' served to me at friends for instance - I did at times think... mmmm our hens were the best
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
March 31, 2017 08:36PM
I don't think there is much difference in taste between caged eggs and "free range" eggs that come form enormous flocks which basically live in barns and eat mostly commercial feed. But the eggs that I've eaten from hens that genuinely spend most of their time outdoors have been markedly better.

In particular, for a couple of years we bought eggs from a biodynamic avocado orchard in Helensville where the hens ranged under avocado and other fruit trees and ate the windfalls plus greens trimmed from the vege garden. Those eggs had bright orange yolks (no colour was added to their food) and tasted gorgeous. I've never had eggs as good since.
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
April 01, 2017 12:03AM
TPANDDAV, Those eggs are known as pastured eggs where they have natural food. You can buy them at commonsense organics and are higher priced again. I bought some free range eggs last week and the yolks were very small - about 13 grams each compared with the 18 grams from caged, so that was a bit frustrating.
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
April 01, 2017 12:13AM
I wonder what determines the yolk size. Anyone know? And is it true that younger hens lay smaller eggs?

I bought some Big Paddock eggs at Helen's recommendation, and while the eggs were okay (nothing special) they were very small, so small that my husband needed to have three for breakfast instead of his usual two, and if I had used them in baking I would have had to use more than the recipe suggested. Oddly, we used to buy Whangaripo eggs (which I understand are from the same producers as Big Paddock) and they were usually quite large.
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
April 01, 2017 02:41AM
It's mostly the breed that determines yolk size. I have 20 hens and 5 different breeds, and by far the largest yolks are laid by my barred plymouth rocks (black and white stripy girls). The yolk is truly enormous. Smallest yolks (but usual supermarket size) are laid by my rhode island reds. Everyone else is somewhere inbetween.

When hens first start to lay, their eggs can be quite small and increase in size over a few weeks. At this time of year you'll be getting the new season's pullets beginning to lay (birds that were hatched in July/Aug/Sept last year), hence quite a lot of small eggs around this time of year. In general, egg size is determined by breed as well.

Commercial egg producers (free range and cage) run one of two breeds - Hyline Red or Brown Shaver. Free range eggs bought from a market may well have been from a "backyard" flock made up of a variety of breeds and may vary greatly in yolk and overall size.
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
April 01, 2017 03:28AM
Perhaps we need to propose that eggs are not just labelled (correctly) free range, cage, etc but also with the breed of chicken... like potatoes which are now usually sold in named varieties. (I do note that you can now buy eggs specifically for poaching, I assume these have large yolks).
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
April 01, 2017 03:45AM
Thanks Jenna, that's exactly what I wanted to know. If I ever get my own hens I will get barred Plymouth rocks!
J1
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
September 13, 2018 05:16PM
"A West Auckland egg farmer faces eight charges laid by the Commerce Commission for falsely labelling millions of eggs as free range. Xue (Frank) Chen, the owner of Gold Chick Poultry Farm, faces four charges of obtaining by deception and four charges of making misleading representations and breaching the Fair Trading Act."
Aug 30 2018 [www.stuff.co.nz]


And an earlier story about him, when investigation of him first started in March 2018 [www.stuff.co.nz]
Re: Cage Eggs sold as free range
September 21, 2018 01:43AM
That is awful about that farm.
I can put my hand on heart and say that all of Big Paddock eggs are completely free range. hens are indoors at night but out all day long.
I run their Facebook page and take the photos and see for myself the lifestyle of the hens.
The yolks are not always bright orange but yolk colour is usually (commercially) induced by colour in the feed, not the life of the hen.
Young hens lay small eggs - nutritionally dense and the whites usually stick well for poaching. These will be the preferred eggs of hen farmers.
The older the hen the larger the egg and many of the BP older hens lay large double yolkers.
Interestingly too, on the whole (generalIsation of course), the older the hen the paler the shell.
What starts out as being a very brown shell, gets paler as the hen ages.

I am happy to answer any questions pertaining to the farming and egg variation as have picked up bits and pieces over the years.
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