Stop Misleading Consumers With Ambiguous Egg Labels

eggs-by-humusak

Target: Edith Ramirez, Federal Trade Commission Chairperson

Goal: Provide clear package labels to protect hens from cruel farming practices.

Nearly 96 percent of eggs sold in America come from hens who are confined to wire cages so tight they can barely move. Current labeling standards regarding animal welfare are unregulated and often leave consumers unsure what they’re actually purchasing.

Terms such as “animal-friendly” and “naturally-raised” as well as lovely pictures of chickens on green grass frequently grace egg cartons, misleading consumers to believe they’re purchasing eggs from hens who are not suffering in tiny cages. Polls indicate that the majority of Americans find the practice of confining hens in such a restrictive manner unacceptable and would base their egg purchase on the treatment of the chickens who laid them.

The egg industry further complicates the labeling terms with phrases like “cage-free” and “humanely raised.” Many consumers believe cage-free eggs to mean that the hens were not confined to a building. Sadly, that is untrue. Cage-free does mean that the hens were not left to suffer in tiny cages, but there is also no guarantee that the birds had access to the outside, or even sunlight inside a building which is likely cramped with birds.

Humanely-raised sounds wonderful, and sometimes it is. However, it’s a nebulous term unless there’s been additional certification by an inspector, a step that is typically taken by small, local egg farmers, not large agri-businesses. Tell the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) they must take action to regulate egg labeling practices so consumers have the necessary information to make a conscious and caring choice.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Ms. Ramirez,

Consumers rely upon package labels to make choices about their purchases. When labels are unclear or misleading, consumers are left without the ability to choose the product that best fits their budget and their morals. This is particularly true with eggs.

The majority of consumers in the U.S. disapprove of the methods by which more than 95 percent of eggs in America are obtained, but the misleading labels leave them unable to vote with their dollars. Current labeling practices are unregulated, allowing egg producers who keep their hens in tiny cages to put phrases like “ethically-raised” on their egg cartons. Phrases such as that and “cage-free” sound good and drive sales, but are sadly misleading and nebulous in meaning.

As consumers become more educated and aware of the impact of their buying choices, they also want clearer labels to aid them in deciding what purchases are most suitable for them. We demand the FTC regulate labeling practices in the egg industry and enable consumers to vote with their dollars.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Humusak

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