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
( www.animalcarecertified.com ) 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