Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Check your eggs!

There are people falling over each other to make money out of the healthy eating revolution that is sweeping the food industry. While I relish the thought of people eating healthier so I don't feel like I'm constantly having to search for healthy alternatives, there are a lot of people exploiting this movement. None more so than the egg industry.

To identify what kind of eggs you have bought, there are 3 sections to a code. If you have an egg nearby go grab one.

Let's use an example egg code of 1UK54321. The first number (0-3) tells you how the chicken has been reared. The following code explains the reared category.

0 = Organic, 1 = free range, 2, = barn, 3 = caged.

The next code tells you the country of origin (UK. The last few numbers are the farm ID. In the above example, the eggs are free range, reared in the UK, from farm 54321. Caged are the lowest grade eggs and should never be used in my opinion. Jamie Oliver tried to raise public awareness of the farming standards of cheap food, but people still have an issue with paying the true cost required to raise good quality food.

Recently the food authorities caught up with a man who had been selling low grade eggs as organic and free range. He had flooded the market for years. He was jailed and asked to pay back £3 million. This was the biggest known food scam in Britain. The temptation to make nearly 3 times amount of money by changing the packaging of eggs is too great for some people. Major supermarkets had been selling his bogus eggs (allegedly unbeknown to them) and my greengrocer had to recently change supplier, as he bought 'UK farmed eggs' when actually they weren't. Where there is money to be made, there will always be scam artists.

So what do we do? Know what the codes mean. Get your eggs from a trusted source. The majority of supermarkets aren't in my opinion. A good butcher, greengrocer or farmers market would be a good option. Don't be scared of asking for information about where your food comes from. Ask for their supplier or farm information, then check it out. Don't think that paying more automatically means that it is healthy.


  1. wow I can't believe that guy did that and got away with it for so long! I agree there is no excuse for buying battery farmed eggs anymore. There are so many people selling them at the side of the road from pet hens even if the shop ones are expensive. I have converted my family to free range thank goodness!

  2. My well established greengrocer was caught out. I also tried a local farm which I later found out, bought in battery farm eggs. They were selling them at the same price as free range eggs.