With a greater focus on sustainability, many consumers are shifting to higher quality, more ethical products. This includes free range and organic eggs, instead of the horrifically cruel cage eggs.
But are consumers getting what they paid for?
As the recent horsemeat scandal has shown, there’s every incentive for producers, wholesalers and retailers to cheat. In the case of meat, they do this even when DNA testing can catch them out. For organic vs cage eggs, it’s potentially worse: no test can tell between the two.
Thankfully the majority of suppliers will do the right thing, but it only takes a bad egg, as they say …
To be confident about what we’re buying, we need to know where it’s come from, and to have confidence in the supply chain.
The most direct approach is to grow the food yourself. Our backyard eggs are a perfect example: we know exactly what they’re eating, and the conditions they’re kept in. When we sell eggs to friends (to pay for chicken feed), they too can have confidence.
Alternatively, one of the community supported agriculture sources would be the next best option.
After that, we’re really relying on the reputation of the provider, which may not count for much.
This is a problem that needs a solution if ethical food is to have a real future…