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Organic Advocates Urge Tightening Of USDA Rules On Egg Farming

April 18, 2011: 08:13 AM EST
The nonprofit farm policy group Cornucopia Institute has accused a California producer of organic eggs of misrepresenting the living conditions of some hens, perhaps in violation of federal organic standards. The California cooperative, whose egg brand is Organic Valley, does not allow hens to forage naturally in sunlit pastures but instead keeps them penned in screened porches with roofs and floors, the Institute told the Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel. Federal organic standards require hens to have outdoor access and sunlight, but the definition of outdoors is fuzzy. The screened enclosures for hens violate the spirit and intent of the organic law, and mislead consumers, the Institute says. Advocates of tighter rules on organic egg production have proposed a clarification of the USDA rules that would close the loophole.
Karen Herzog, "When Is a Hen Organic?", Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, April 18, 2011, © Journal Sentinel Inc.
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