Egg recall could benefit consumers
August 31, 2010 6:24 PM
With the nationwide recall of over 500 million shelled eggs, it seems as if chickens may have caught a bit of a "fowl" reputation.
But on the bright side, the recall has given both chickens and humans a chance to break open a new opportunities for healthier lives.
According to the Food and Drug Administration's website, half a billion eggs distributed from Hillandale Farms and Wright County Egg, both located in Iowa, were contaminated with salmonella enteritidis. The eggs were produced from as far back as May 16, and distributed to 16 different states including California. The California Department of Public Health reported 266 californians sickened because of the contaminated eggs.
In the midst of the recall, consumers are taking a closer look at where their food is coming from and individually opting for more humane and local alternatives.
"I'm definitely looking more at where my eggs come from," said San Francisco resident Brooke Still. "I don't eat eggs that much in the first place, but I use them for baking so I am making an effort to, but from a farm that is closer."
She said that buying locally, while it may be a little more expensive, is worth it in the end.
"The factory farms are horrible, just look at what those chickens go through. It's just really horrible," she said.
Heidi Fuller works with Soul Food Farm, a Vacaville farm that raises eggs and chickens that was the first in California to receive an Animal Welfare Approved certification. Soul Food Farm lets its flock of around 1,200 chickens roam free over 55 acres of certified organic land, raising them on diets of quality grain free of antibiotics.
This is a stark difference from the farms involved in the salmonella outbreak, where large populations of hens are kept in warehouse-like barns, making it easier to spread diseases very quickly.
But some residents have taken it one step further and bought chickens of their own to raise in their backyards.
Fuller worked a stand at the Eat Real Festival held in Oakland last weekend, where she not only offered information to consumers, but also sold hens and chicks to attendees and provided resources about proper housing for them.
"We were here Friday and Saturday selling chicks and hens, and sold out by Sunday," she said on Sunday. "There was a huge increase in people buying this year, and I strongly believe it was because of the recalls."
According to San Francisco municipal codes, chickens are classified as "pets", so residents are allowed to keep up to four in their backyards. This "urban" farming movement has been a popular trend as residents look to find more ways to provide sustainable and direct food for themselves. Fuller says that raising chickens is "a lot easier than most people think", but for SF State students it may not be ideal.
"Even if people can't commit to raising their own chickens, consumers want to know where their food is coming from," she said. "and that it's coming from a place where the animals are healthy and happy. If they can't do it, we'll do it for them."
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