The Egg Dilemma


         “Are eggs good for you?  How many eggs should I eat?  Do they contain High amounts of cholesterol?”  These are very common questions asked today about eggs.

         Back in the 1950’s, the average barnyard hen, laid 15 eggs a year.  Today, with selective breeding, and of course modern scientific intervention, one (1) hen lays, on the average 300 eggs.  In an article published by the Farmers Almanac, it is stated, Genetics researchers at the University of Missouri College of Agriculture managed to coax hen number 2988 to lay 371 eggs between August 30, 1979 and August 29, 1980,--a world’s record of 1.02 eggs a day for the entire year.

        It is obvious that it was never intended for the hen to produce 300 eggs per year, or else the hen would have done so in the 1800’s.




         Chickens and eggs are big business in America.  Today’s eggs come from huge indoor factories where literally millions of hens are kept in the most inhumane, disease-ridden conditions.  Over 98% Of the egg market is under the control of huge agribusiness corporations (eggribusiness).  A single company may hold over four million hens!

                The Pennfield Corporation in Lancaster, Pennsylvania is a typical poultry plant, where 9 million hens are contained within a fifty-mile radius.  The company’s largest chicken house is a complex of nine warehouses, each as long as two football fields, each holding 30,000 hens housed in 12x 18-inch wire cages, three or four to a cage.  Feeding, watering, and egg collecting is all done by machine. Moving trough carry food and water past the hens’ and conveyor belts take the eggs away.

             Since 1950, the arsenic substance arsanilic acid has been mixed into poultry feed to stimulate growth, make utilization of food more efficient, produce more eggs, and improve skin coloring and feathering.  Today aproximately90% of all commercially raised chickens have been fed with arsanilic or arsonic acid.  Arsenic is a known toxin for humans, yet the F.D.A. allows residues of .5 part per million for it in chicken and turkey tissues, and twice as much in chicken by-products such as eggs and broth.




         All eggs contain an excess of sulphur which places an undue strain on the kidneys and liver.  The albumen in the white part of the egg contains a toxic protein substance, avidin which binds biotin (a b-complex vitamin) and makes it unavailable to the body for absorption.  Raw egg white frequently produce acids that hinder the digestion of other substances.

      Eggs are vehicles for residues of a wide range of chemicals present in the diet and environment of laying hens.  Antibiotics in feed may more than double egg laying in low-producing hens.  There is also pressure to include antibiotics in the drinking water of layers as well.  Feed medicated with antibiotics must be withheld from birds when they are laying.  But when this recommendation has been followed, antibiotics have been detected.

         Drugs may be used with laying hens, a tranquilizer, used in conjunction with the antibiotics in layer feed, was said to boost egg production since it “calms birds, reducing blood pressure and heart rate, increases respiratory rate.”  Experimentally, hens fed aspirin laid more eggs.  Another drug has been found to be effective in reducing ”laying slump,” at the same time it cuts feeding costs.

      The eggs of confined birds show little seasonal change in yolk color or vitamin content. Since they tend to be pale and watery, as well as flat flavored, additives are supplied to the feed to darken the yolk color, synthetic vitamins  may also be supplied.  An antioxidant may also be used to “improve yolk” pigmentation;” residues of this usually turn up in eggs.

         The well-nourished hen produces a durable shell which resists cracking.  But poorly--fed battery hens, low in calcium, may produce shells that crack readily.  Under present management, egg producers attempt to correct this condition by adding terephthalic acid and antibiotics to the feed, sodium bicarbonate to the drinking water, or a toxic material, “three-niter mash,” to harden eggshells.  Another technique is to pump carbondioxide into the henhouse.  Birds inhaling this gas lay eggs with thicker shells.  All these toxins contaminate the eggs and those who ingest them.






         There is a serious problem with salmonella -contamination of eggs.  A main problem with eggs is bacterial contamination, particularly salmonella contamination.  Nationwide , the reported number of food poisoning cases linked to eggs grew from 7,325 in 1974 to about 14,000 in 1986.

          At one time eggs were not considered the major carriers of salmonella, but today eggs are the cause of dramatic increase in food poisoning in the Northeast.

     In the past salmonella infection of flocks was thought to result from contamination of eggs by animal feces.  But salmonella enteritidis may be infecting chickens in a much more insidious and hard-to-combat way.  Investigators who have looked into the causes of grade A egg-related salmonella outbreaks have discovered that the salmonella bacteria were inside the eggs, in their yolks and white.  Researchers killed the egg-producing hens and discovered that the ovaries and oviducts were infested with viable, reproducing colonies of salmonella enteritidis.  Thus some experts theorize that salmonella enteritidis may be reproducing, colonizing in the ovaries of hens, and infecting the egg yolk directly before the egg is even formed!

        Chickens today are laying more eggs than ever before, but these eggs are quite different from a few years back.  If you are eating eggs, the chances are very good that these are factory eggs which are smaller, with more white and less yolk than eggs produced a decade ago; they are also paler and more watery than eggs from barnyard chickens.

        The chickens today are just as diseased as the other animals that mankind places on his table for food.  Diseased chickens also mean contaminated eggs.




A study published in the Lancet, a British Medical Journal stated:

             “Babies not fed allergy-triggering foods such as milk and eggs are less likely to suffer from asthma and allergies during the first year of life.”

         Researchers put 58 mother-baby pairs on a diet that eliminated dairy products, eggs and fish.

     These babies were compared with 62 babies not on diets.

           By 12 months, at least one allergy was detected in 14 percent of infants in the diet group compared with 40 percent of infants in the control group.

                 Investigators detected asthma symptoms in 7 percent of infants on the diet compared with 19 percent on non-dieters.






       Even when the hens are allowed plenty of clean territory for sunning, adequate fresh, pure water, pure air and good grain-and cohabitation with rooster—the resultant product (the egg) is apt to be less that optimal, even for non-vegetarians.  The habits of the fowl are not clean—they will eat almost anything—eggs will sometimes taste of wild garlic, which the hen has eaten.  Eggs are also energy draining.

      Eggs are perishable.  To extend shelf life, commercial eggs are dipped or sprayed with a commercial oil or oil solvent.  This treatment makes it impossible, even in the absence of refrigeration, for the consumer to distinguish between the day-old fresh and the several-weeks-old oiled eggs.  In large-scale operations, where space permits, eggs may be held in the storage cooler for two weeks before actual delivery to stores.  Many eggs are held much longer in cold storage.

        There also exists a substantial body of competent and reliable scientific evidence that eating eggs increases the risk of heart attacks or heart disease.  This evidence is systematic, consistent, strong and congruent.  Well designed studies by investigators, independent of the food industry, clearly demonstrate the detrimental effects of eggs on blood cholesterol levels. At best eggs are an inferior food.

         Although chickens are laying more eggs than ever before, the eggs are different.  Factory eggs now are smaller, with more white and less yolk than eggs produced a decade ago; they are also paler and more watery than eggs from the barnyard chickens.  ABC News Closeup,   12/21/1973


     Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.  1Corinthians 10:31


Katy Chamberlin