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Links With Your Coffee - Friday

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A new paper in Nature on bird reproduction ends with this provocative quote from E. O. Wilson’s Sociobiology: “sex is an antisocial force in evolution.” What does that mean? In the case of cooperatively breeding birds, the subject of the report by Charlie Cornwallis et al., it means that the cooperation between parents and their offspring is endangered if the parents have too much sex.

If you're going to buy cage-free eggs you're doing it because it results in more humane treatment of the chicken, not because there is less chance of samonella.

We’ve discussed labeling many times at Biofortified, usually looking at things from a practical perspective, such as in the posts What’s in a label? and Labeling GMOs. I argue that anything that is scientifically proven to be a hazard should be a mandatory label. For example, a label that a product contains nuts is justified by severe allergic reactions, even though the additional label may add to the cost of a product for people who don’t have allergies. Any label that doesn’t have a proven hazard is simply a label of preference, so should not be mandatory. Instead, voluntary labels are appropriate. For example, producers may choose to label products as free from animal products if they think the cost of sourcing non-animal ingredients, testing, and labeling will be rewarded by additional purchases of their products by vegetarians and vegans. Non-vegetarians shouldn’t have to pay for a label is based on preference, not science.


 

Comments

Salmonella scare, I meant to say - it's really difficult thinking when you died of Salmonella poisoning over 20 years ago, let alone typing.

Three cheers for Fiore.

Yes, that's one of the best Fiore animations I've seen.

FYI: The label "cage free!" brings to mind a flock of happy chickens, foraging in green pastures. However most of the eggs from "cage free" birds, just come instead from other confinement operations that put hundreds of birds together on a big wire floored Quonset hut where they crowd around together. Most commercial birds labeled "free range" are raised this way, although they probably also have little door they might venture out of into a dirt/poo lined outdoor run where they might get some sunshine. Neither "cage free" nor "free range" labels are regulated. The farmer puts what he likes on his label. The "USDA ORGANIC" and "Certified ORGANIC" labels are highly regulated. To use these labels, you must provide some outdoor run, cages are prohibited but even the Organic label does not prevent floored confinement. Some farmers use the term "Green Pasture Free Range" to describe birds that actually run around the Pasture, coming inside only at night. Green Pasture Free Range (though still an unregulated label - you have to trust the farmer who puts it on their carton), is actually the only rearing methodology that has a significant effect on the food quality of the eggs, since more of the chickens diet comes from grass, green plants and bugs instead of exclusively from dried corn/soy commercial feeds. Green Pasture free range eggs can have HALF the cholesterol and several times more B vitamins than eggs from confinement birds.

That said, as this reference points out, sanitation is really the key to reduced Salmonella risk. and smaller flocks make that an easier proposition. My birds are playing outside from early morning to evening, I sweep out and replace litter in the roost house (where they sleep at night) every 4 weeks, and do a full house cleaning twice a year. The day old chicks are inoculated for Mareks and Newcastle disease before they are shipped to me, tho I'm not aware that there is any Salmonella vaccine. Even with these hygiene measure, tho I don't worry about home use of raw eggs in homemade mayonnaise, I do NOT advertise the eggs as Salmonella free.

I should have remembered that, it seems we covered this ground before and you explained this too me.

Repetition, that's what it takes, thanks.

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