If you are paying a bit more for free range eggs then you expect them to be free range. It seems, however, that many eggs are falling short of quality and labelling standards. In an investigation in Derbyshire 40% of eggs fell short of standards. In some cases eggs from battery hens were being advertised as free range or barn raised. A test of 50 eggs from different retailers found that although 39 claimed to be free range, 19 were not. In addition to this 11 of the eggs were wrongly labelled, four did not meet quality standards and 2 were not the required weight under the Food Safety Act. The eggs were tested with various techniques to determine quality including shining an ultra-violet light on the shell to show up marks which would prove whether they were laid in cages and checking the size of the air space inside to determine freshness. If this many fail just in Derbyshire, it makes me wonder how many of the eggs I purchase are indeed free range. Perhaps it’s time to get my own chickens.
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