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 Post subject: Science of eggs, politics of chickens
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 9:42 pm 
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Two separate subjects, but interesting that I read about them both in the same day.

Lawmakers Propose National Standards for Egg Farms
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, backed by the Humane Society of the United States and United Egg Producers, has introduced a bill that would set a federal welfare standard for hens on egg farms. Under the new legislation, egg producers would be required to almost double the size of hens' cages, as well as enrich their living spaces with features that encourage natural behaviors such as scratching and nesting. In addition to improving the quality of life for egg-laying hens, the measure is designed to prevent trade blockages between states with different egg-production laws.



Hard boil an egg, let it cool, and crack the shell. If you did that about a decade ago, it probably peeled easily, breaking into a few large pieces -- or, at least, that's how you probably remember it. But now? The eggs seem impossible to peel, shattering into a billion pieces each stuck to the egg itself, as if bound to it by the Force or with super glue.

It may not just be your memory. There may be a scientific explanation for why hard boiled eggs are recently hard to peel. It's because, the theory goes, the eggs are fresh.

As explained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (via this 2009 article in Wired), the egg itself contracts over time as gas escapes it and enters the air cell within the egg shell. If you hard boil an egg early in this process, the air space between its inner and outer membranes (that is, the skin-like film on the egg white and the inside of the shell, itself) stick together. And the shell therefore is harder to separate than it would be had the egg been older.

You need not be purchasing direct from the farm, either. Efficiencies in factory farming have allowed the retail agriculture industry to get fresher eggs -- relative to say, fifteen years ago -- in stores across the country. The above-cited Wired article notes that a 1998 USDA study concluded that an expected -- and, it turns out, correctly predicted -- move to larger scale egg production facilities would halve the amount of time it takes for eggs to get from farm to store, with a total reduction of about two days saved.

While one expert interviewed by Wired suggests mixing sodium bicarbonate into your egg-boiling water, he cautions that doing so will not only weaken the shell's adhesion, it will also strengthen the taste of sulphur in the eggs. Your best bet may be waiting until the eggs are closer to the expiration date if you want to hard boil them.

Bonus fact: The same principle above -- the idea that older eggs have a larger air space -- also can be used to determine the age of an uncooked, raw egg (still in its shell). If you put such an egg in a bowl of water on its long side, how it sinks -- if at all -- will tell you roughly how old it is. If it sinks straight to the bottom, according to About.com, it's less than a week old. If it sinks and tilts, it's probably a week or so old, but if it sinks and stands on its end, it's at about two weeks. If the egg floats, it is probably three weeks old -- and, likely, no longer good to eat.


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 Post subject: Re: Science of eggs, politics of chickens
PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:46 am 
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I ran into the bill proposed by Sen. Feinstein a while back, and it looks good on the outside, but apparently there's some small print that apparently not only removes our rights as voters, but isn't necessarily the best for the hens. However, I'm only going off the website of the organization that is against the bill - I haven't read the proposed bill myself. Here's their website: http://stoptherotteneggbill.org/site/c.8qKNJWMwFbLUG/b.7865469/k.3BC1/Humane_Farming_Association_enriched_cages_battery_cages_United_Egg_Producers.htm


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 Post subject: Re: Science of eggs, politics of chickens
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 2:51 am 
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Ooh, thanks for posting. I always like to hear both sides. I most often find Democrats to be horrible and Republicans to be worse (I did vote Obama though), regardless I like to know what both are up to regarding all issues that I think are important.
Its so strange the way politics work, when passing a bill that could double the cage size requirements for hens has a loop hole that could actually make conditions worse for them somehow....


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 Post subject: Re: Science of eggs, politics of chickens
PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 1:19 pm 
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Yeah. Just my opinion, but the more I'm paying attention to politics, the more I am skeptical when it looks too good to
be true in my mind. Somehow things seem to end up favoring the guys who have a hand in the money-making portion
of the equation.........


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 Post subject: Re: Science of eggs, politics of chickens
PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 4:05 pm 
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