Tag: eggs
Despite Scare Headlines, Egg Prices Are Already Cracking

Despite Scare Headlines, Egg Prices Are Already Cracking

When I worked on Reuters' business desk, we weren't allowed to parrot press releases reporting that earnings soared 100 percent from the year before. Why? Because here's the reality behind some such claims: Acme Pebble's income last year may have grown from a miserable $100 to only $200. That's a 100 percent gain but hardly a reason to party.

And so it is with some skepticism that one encounters headlines about the price of a consumer item jumping 10 percent, 40 percent or 80 percent from last year. Relevant to the economic pain involved is the base from which the price rose, plus how much of the item an ordinary American actually uses. (Truffles, anyone?)

Eggs offer one such recent example. The price of eggs, we read, rose 60 percent last year. The number is not wrong. It's that eggs remain a relatively cheap food. At a high of $6 for a dozen, a two-egg dinner could still be had for $1.

We understand that eggs are an important food source, particularly for low-income people — and that any increase in their price can be meaningful to some. But a hamburger at McDonald's costs $2.49.

Now, news on the tab for common consumer staples like eggs, gasoline, and Thanksgiving turkeys draws attention and allows the creation of easy-to-make visuals. But so many of the headlines on the cost of eggs bang on the percentage rise in price while not mentioning the actual price.

Remember the turkey "crisis" of two Thanksgivings ago? The price of turkey hit a record $1.36 a pound for a 16-pound turkey. But you could still feed a family of 18 for a mere $1.22 a serving. Contrary to scary reports, there was no turkey shortage.

One other thing about panicky reports of price increases is that they generally fail to note that prices can also go down as market conditions change. As they say, the cure for high prices is high prices.

The price of eggs has already started to moderate as their stiffer cost has softened demand. Midwest large eggs, the commodity's benchmark, have already fallen to $4.63 a dozen, down from $5.46 last month. That's despite the persistence of the main cause of egg price inflation, an avian flu that has led to the deaths of millions of egg-laying chickens.

Some Americans tried to work around higher egg prices by obtaining their own chickens. A friend in rural Rehoboth, Massachusetts, keeps three chickens that produce about 90 eggs a month. They cost about $21 a month for a 50-pound bag of pellets. Left out, of course, is the expense of coops, fencing and the chickens themselves.

"I'll have to calculate how much it actually cost per egg," Mario Morais told me, "but I think I'm ahead of the game, and they're fresh."

It's worth noting that the sparked interest in maintaining one's own chickens started during the COVID pandemic and before egg prices shot up. People who suddenly found themselves working from home found it easier, as well as interesting, to keep chickens. That included people living in urban areas.

Feed stores in the Houston area report a strong demand for chickens and their food. And a growing number of businesses are renting out chickens. Driftwood Meadow Farms north of Houston rents chickens for four to five months at a price of $665 for two birds plus the coop, feed and water dishes. Also, the all-important instructions.

Bear in mind that cost pressures on eggs include Russia's war on Ukraine and the drought across much of the U.S. They and the avian flu all continue but the price for eggs has nonetheless started coming down. Thus, and another obsession should start to crack.

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

The Comeback Chick: Can You Spot A Nutrient-Dense Egg Yolk?

The Comeback Chick: Can You Spot A Nutrient-Dense Egg Yolk?

Republished with permission from Clean Plates.

After almost 40 years of government warnings about cholesterol consumption, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (the group that provides the science for the Guidelines) said, “Oops, we were kidding.” Their exact wording: cholesterol in the diet is no longer a “nutrient of concern.”

If that alone wasn’t enough to make you rethink your frittata-phobia, studies at Harvard School of Public Health show eggs contain nutrients that actually help lower heart disease risk, including vitamins B12 and D, riboflavin, and folate. Yolks also contain choline, a super nutrient that is essential for brain cell function.

So go ahead and kiss those egg-white omelets goodbye for good, but don’t order your three-egg omelets so fast: Even if cholesterol is no longer a nutrition no-no, it doesn’t mean you can go around eating any old egg yolk. Quality still counts, and not all eggs are created equal. You can spot a nutrient-dense egg from a mile away once you crack it open.

When your chickens eat a nutrient-rich diet, they produce superfood-style eggs. Hens that forage on green plants and bugs in a free-range environment eat a diet full of carotenoids, giving the yolks a more orange hue. Healthy yolks tend to be bigger, too.

The darker your yolk, the more nutrients it contains. Our recommendation: Get your eggs from “pasture-raised” hens whenever possible to reap the most benefits. Don’t confuse “pasture-raised” for “pasteurized,” which means the eggs have been treated. And know that labels like “cage-free” and “free-range,” don’t necessarily mean the hens had access to green fields.

Check out this egg scorecard for farms near you or head over to your local farmers’ market.

Clean Plates is the free weekly email that makes it easy and delicious to eat clean, healthy, organic, sustainable food.

Photo: Jocelyn Mcauley

Eggs: To Refrigerate Or Not

Eggs: To Refrigerate Or Not

Is it dangerous to store eggs outside the refrigerator?  The answer depends on where you buy your eggs, or more accurately where you live.

In the U.S., eggs are generally sold from a refrigerated section of the supermarket and stored that way at home. If we buy eggs at a farm stand or farmer’s market they may be at room temperature, but only until we get them home.  But in most other places around the world they’re sold and stored at room temperature.

Is one healthier or better than the other?  According to NPR’s The Salt, both are correct and safe, but it depends on whether or not the eggs are washed after coming out of the hen.

“We Americans, along with the Japanese, Australians and Scandinavians, tend to be squeamish about our chicken eggs, so we bathe them and then have to refrigerate them. But (in the U.S.) we’re oddballs. Most other countries don’t mind letting unwashed eggs sit next to bread or onions.”

When U.S. hens lay eggs they’re grabbed immediately and put through a wash of soap and hot water. Now that removes all manner of gunk and bacteria, but it also removes a super thin film that coats each egg and protects it from that gunk, while allowing water and oxygen to get inside.

Proper washing gets rid of bacteria such as salmonella enteritidis and so is required in the U.S., but in many other countries laying hens are vaccinated against it and the eggs don’t need to be washed to protect the consumer.

Both ways achieve the same results.

Oh and by the way, brown and white eggs are exactly the same.

Photo: Pixabay.com

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