Egg Myths – How Well Do You Know Eggs?Health & Nutrition
Brown eggs or white eggs? Hormone-free or antibiotic-free? Is it okay to start every day with eggs at breakfast? When it comes to eggs, we can all agree they are a great source of protein but unfortunately eggs are not immune to confusing myths. We frequently receive requests to address certain myths and have rounded up the most popular here. Let’s get crackin’, shall we?
Myth: Double yolk eggs – fact or fiction?
It’s a fact! Eggs with two yolks, called double yolk eggs, are fairly rare. Their shells usually have a ridge in the middle, as if two eggs have been pushed together. Double yolk eggs are usually laid by young hens early in their reproductive cycle. But, are double yolk eggs safe to eat? YES! Not only are they safe to eat, but they are also said to bring good luck! Here at Burnbrae Farms, we offer Super Bon-EE Doubles, but doubles are rare so distribution is limited.
Myth: Hens lay more eggs because they are fed hormones or steroids.
It’s a myth! Egg farmers do not feed hormones or steroids to egg-laying hens. The use of steroids and hormones in egg-laying hens has been banned in Canada for over 50 years. Burnbrae has worked diligently to provide excellent hen care, which has improved egg production. Our farmers feed their hens a balanced diet and keep a close watch on them daily to ensure they are healthy.
Myth: Antibiotics are regularly used on egg-laying hens.
It’s a myth! At Burnbrae Farms, we strongly believe in prevention over treatment, and we put this belief into practice. Our hens are vaccinated when they are young to build defenses against diseases. As a result, antibiotics are used rarely at our farms. Medication is only provided when hens are sick, and the antibiotics are prescribed by a veterinarian at approved doses.
To protect the health of our birds and prevent disease from entering our farms and flocks, Burnbrae Farms has rigorous health protocols in place. Our barns are accessible only to farmers, veterinarians and other authorized personnel, and they must wear clean clothes and footwear before coming in contact with the hens. Because our farmers focus on disease prevention, there are limited times when antibiotics are used to treat sickness.
Myth: You can tell the quality and freshness of an egg by the colour of the yolk.
It’s a myth! Yolk colour does not indicate egg quality or freshness. The colour of an egg yolk is influenced by what hens eat. A wheat-based diet will produce a pale yellow yolk, while a corn-based diet produces a darker yellow yolk. Adding ground marigold petals to the hens’ diet increases lutein levels and these yolks are more orange.
Myth: Are eggs still good after the expiry date?
It’s a fact! Yes, you can safely eat eggs up to three weeks past the code date – provided they have been stored in the refrigerator (at 0 to 8 degrees C). Also, there is no difference in nutrition between a day-old egg and two-month old egg. The code date ensures Grade A freshness and quality.
Sometimes fresh eggs function better than older eggs, especially in baking and in meringues. Eggs which are slightly older may not bind cakes together as well, or their whites might be a little runny. To be safe, always use proper handling and cook eggs to proper temperatures, with these tips from the Egg Safety Center.
Myth: You shouldn’t eat eggs every day.
It’s a myth! Eggs are recommended for healthy eating, according to the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans issued on January 7, 2016. The expert panel stated that cholesterol in diets is no longer a concern. (For many years, Health Canada has recognized the evidence that dietary cholesterol has little impact on blood cholesterol.) Instead the U.S. guidelines emphasize reducing saturated fats, and eggs contain cholesterol but not a large amount of saturated fat. The 2016 Guidelines recommend three healthy eating patterns, and eggs are included in all three.
Eating an egg a day will not increase the risk for heart disease, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Harvard agrees cholesterol found in food like eggs has very little impact on blood cholesterol.
Myth: Eggs with blood spots are fertilized.
It’s a myth! Some believe that if an egg has blood spots, then it must be fertilized. This is categorically false – at Burnbrae there are no roosters in our barns, so our eggs are never fertilized and could never hatch into chicks.
These tiny spots are not harmful, and eggs with blood spots are fine to eat says the Egg Safety Center. Blood spots are caused by the rupture of a blood vessel during the formation of the egg. During candling, most imperfections like blood spots are detected; when detected, those eggs are removed and not sold. Blood spots in brown eggs are more difficult to detect because of the colour of the shell. Even with electronic spotters it is impossible to catch every single blood spot. If desired, the spot can be removed with the tip of a clean knife prior to cooking.
Myth: Brown and white eggs have different nutritional value.
It’s a myth! There is no difference in nutrition content between a brown shell and a white shell. Flavour or cooking functionality is also not affected by the shell colour. The egg shell colour is determined by the breed of chicken. At Burnbrae, brown eggs are laid by the brown Rhode Island Red hen and white eggs are laid by the White Leghorn. The colour of the hen’s ear area is the indicator, with a white or light spot meaning white eggs. The brown chickens are larger and require more food to make an egg, which is why brown eggs may cost more than white eggs.
Myth: Eggs in the grocery store have been stored in a warehouse for months before reaching the shelf.
It’s a myth! Eggs are six days old, on average, when they reach the grocery store. We track this in Canada through our grading process. Eggs have 35 days of shelf life at the time of grading. Eggs are not stored for weeks on end in warehouses – instead they move through an efficient process from farm to table, which ensures a fresh wholesome egg supply for all Canadians.
Myth: It’s unhealthy for hens to be housed inside.
It’s a myth! We believe that our hens are best protected by housing them indoors. That is part of our family’s commitment to ensuring the health and well-being of animals at all times. There are a number of reasons we house hens indoors, with the primary one being extreme weather. Laying hens are not well-suited to the snow, wind or frost that is typical of Canadian winters. Chickens are “the ultimate prey animal,” in the words of chicken veterinarian Mike Petrik. Chickens prefer a shelter to feel safe and secure. Research has found that most chickens, when given the option to go outside, prefer to stay indoors.
When outside, hens are exposed to greater risk of injury, predation and weather elements, plus it is more difficult to provide continual access to food and water.
Myth: The world would be better if everyone farmed like we did 100 years ago.
It’s a myth! Yes, our farms are larger and we use new technology today. We care for our animals and our land 365 days a year with the same commitment and caring of the five generations that farmed before us. Innovation and technology has been helpful to farming, just as it has impacted every other aspect of our lives. At Burnbrae, we believe in using innovation in a responsible way to promote healthy living, humane animal care, high quality and environmental sustainability. Today’s hens are producing more eggs and are less impacted by health issues due to advancements in hen health, nutrition and housing. That lowers the carbon footprint of egg production and conserves our natural resources.
Today in Canada, less than two percent of the population farms. But everyone enjoys fresh, wholesome and affordable food. By working to continually improve our farming methods and using innovations, Burnbrae and other Canadian farmers can continue to produce a safe, abundant food supply. The Hudson family is proud of the legacy of Burnbrae Farms. For five generations, we’ve been providing Canadians with high-quality eggs, and we understand our obligation to farm responsibly and provide food for consumers today and in the future.