The chicken or the egg? Either way it’s a scandal

Did you know that the average chicken has more room in the fridge or oven than it ever did when it was alive?

Following on from the chlorine chicken discussion of last week which again raised the issue of welfare in poultry ‘farming’, a new scandal has hit the industry as Aldi removes all eggs from sale in Germany over a chemical contamination scare.

Soil Association logoThe argument for organic, welfare-led farming gets stronger with every week that passes. If this contamination can happen in what we imagine is well-regulated  Holland, imagine what could happen elsewhere? Aldi might say there is no risk but who really knows? That’s why Soil Association certification really matters. It’s the only effective external monitoring.

It is becoming clearer than ever why we sell five times more organic than free range eggs*. Organic whole chickens and breast fillets regularly outsell free range at our butchers counter as well.

Poultry factory producing non free-range eggsAldi has withdrawn all eggs from sale in Germany as they may have been contaminated by insecticide that is used to treat lice and ticks in chickens. The chemical can harm people’s kidneys, liver and thyroid glands, and was found in eggs from the Netherlands.

One German official said up to 10 million of the contaminated eggs may have been sold in Germany and there was a risk to children if they ate two of the eggs a day.

Around 180 poultry farms in the Netherlands have been temporarily shut and European supermarkets are attempting to halt the distribution of eggs from the affected batches.

Yet despite taking all eggs off its shelves Aldi said “there is no reason to assume there are any health risks”.

Chickens in a field at Laydilay organic egg producerThere may be a premium to pay on chicken that has lived outside and pecked at grass that hasn’t been treated with chemicals, but isn’t it a price well worth paying?

(*Just to clarify, we sell free range organic and non-organic eggs, but all eggs used in our kitchen and to cook with in our cafes are organic.)