ATLANTA -- A new logo is popping up on egg cartons, signalling to consumers that the eggs were produced at facilities that follow animal care guidelines developed by food-industry trade groups.
Cartons sporting the new logo are starting to appear at Kroger, Wal-Mart, Safeway and Meijer stores, among others, according to officials with United Egg Producers. About 80% of the country's egg processors are taking part in the program and are in the process of providing retailers with point-of-sale materials to educate consumers on the meaning of the symbol.
Participating producers must follow guidelines designed to protect the comfort, health and safety of chickens, including increased space per hen, standards for beak trimming, standards for molting procedures and guidelines for daily inspections, as well as proper handling and transportation.
Paul Sauder, a principal with RW Sauder, a Lititz, Pa.-based egg production company, told SN he is developing a brochure describing the program, which will be made available to retailers. Along with the logo, egg cartons from the Sauder plant will bear a statement saying, "We care about the welfare of our hens. Produced under United Egg Producers animal care guidelines."
The statement initially will appear inside the foam cartons, though Sauder said his plan ultimately is to print the statement on the outside of the cartons.
Furthermore, the company is producing a flyer spelling out the standards the plant follows under the rules, which will be available to consumers at the dairy cases. The company also will post information on the program on its Web site, Sauder said.
Sauder supplies a number of East Coast retailers, including Stew Leonard's, Sam's Club, Stop & Shop and King Cullen stores. All of those stores should receive the new egg cartons by early January 2003, Sauder said.