Wednesday, February 28, 2024

UEP sets cage-free eggs definition

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ALPHARETTA, Ga. — The United Egg Producers has approved language to establish the definition of cage-free hen housing for the industry.

The language, unanimously adopted by the UEP board at its May meeting, states:

“Cage-free eggs are laid by hens that are able to roam vertically and horizontally in indoor houses, and have access to fresh food and water. Cage-free systems vary from farm-to-farm, and can include multi-tier aviaries. They must allow hens to exhibit natural behaviors and include enrichments such as scratch areas, perches and nests. Hens must have access to litter, protection from predators and be able to move in a barn in a manner that promotes bird welfare.”

Exactly what constitutes cage-free housing and eggs has been a question the industry has grappled with for some time.

Chad Gregory, UEP president and CEO, said, “We recognize there have been many questions regarding the proper definition for cage-free hen housing. Addressing this confusion in the marketplace was something that our farmer-members took very seriously, and it was important to get the language just right.”

Gregory added, “It was equally important that this definition reflect the diversity of housing options available to UEP members, and egg farmers’ commitment to assuring hen health and wellbeing in all housing environments.”

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