Egg Trade Association Criticizes Wild Oats Markets

Consumers will be forced to pay $1 million more for Wild Oats' eggs

Jun 02, 2005, 01:00 ET from United Egg Producers

    ATLANTA, June 2 /PRNewswire/ -- United Egg Producers, the nation's largest
 egg trade association, is criticizing Wild Oats Markets' decision to sell only
 cage-free eggs, saying consumers are losing their freedom of choice and
 shoppers at Wild Oats will be forced to pay an extra $1 million annually for
     "Cage free eggs are sold at twice the price of regular eggs and are much
 more profitable for retailers," said Gene Gregory, Vice President for United
 Egg Producers. "Wild Oats' decision may be based more on profit motives than
 on concerns about hens."  Consumers who want to be free to make their own
 purchasing decisions about the kinds of eggs they prefer or who want more
 competitive prices may want to shop at other grocery stores, he added.
     There are no science-based guidelines for cage free production, and many
 cage free hens are subject to more diseases, predators and weather, Gregory
 said. Only eggs that carry the Animal Care Certified seal
 ( ) are based on scientific guidelines which were
 developed by the egg industry in conjunction with an independent scientific
 committee of animal welfare experts. That Animal Care Certified seal is the
 consumers' only guarantee that the eggs were produced in proper conditions
 which provide adequate space, food, water, air and cleanliness.
     The Animal Care Certified program guidelines are supported by the U.S.
 Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, as well as the
 Food Marketing Institute and the National Council of Chain Restaurants. Egg
 farms participating in the Animal Care Certified program are inspected by
 auditors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture or another independent
     The United Egg Producers have fired off a letter to Wild Oats Markets
 president & CEO Perry Odak protesting their decision and requesting a meeting
 to provide him with scientific materials about the Animal Care Certified
 program, Gregory said. "We're disappointed Wild Oats made this decision
 unilaterally without engaging our industry association or some of the
 scientific animal welfare experts who are most knowledgeable about this issue.
 Rather they have relied on an animal activist campaign manager who does not
 even eat eggs."

SOURCE United Egg Producers