|Consumer information - facts worth knowing about eggs.|
In 2010, German egg consumption increased by 1.5% to 214 eggs per person annually. This corresponds to a total of 17.469 billion eggs a year. A good half of all these eggs are bought fresh and in the shell by private households. The level of self-sufficiency in the sector fell last year, on the strength of production conditions, to a new low of 58.3%.
Towards the end of 2009, Germany completely abandoned the practice of conventional battery-hen farming. Other EU member states may continue with conventional battery-egg production until the end of 2011. This has led to changes in the production structure. While 70% of laying hens were kept using conventional battery-farming methods five years ago, the figure for last year dropped to just 18.2%. In 2010, 62.8% of laying hens were being ground-reared, compared to just 15.1% in 2006.
The abandonment of conventional battery-farming means that consumers of German-produced eggs are now offered a choice of eggs from organic, free range, and limited free range farms, as well as from colony systems. Thanks to the compulsory EU-wide designation of “Class A” eggs, consumers can establish both the housing system and origin for each egg. The labelling of eggs in the shell is a uniform EU-wide practice, subject to the corresponding egg-marketing standards. These marketing standards apply to unprocessed eggs, but not to hard-boiled or dyed eggs, which are, as processed foods, subject to general (and likewise EU-wide) food-labelling legislation. These latter rules do not envisage the inclusion of details on housing systems, although food producers who use eggs may voluntarily provide information on their housing systems.
For further information on egg labelling, please go to www.was-steht-auf-dem-ei.de
Source: Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV)
Eggs are packed full of highly nutritious yet easy-to-digest substances
Healthy eating is indeed egg-shaped. Eggs are a valuable source of protein, with a high proportion of essential amino acids, fats with unsaturated fatty acids, vital trace elements and every vitamin except vitamin C. Eggs are also a source of many mineral substances, including calcium, selenium and iron.
Energy from eggs – protein
The main factor that makes eggs such a valuable source of nutrition is their high biological value protein, which the human organism quickly and easily converts into the body’s own protein. Eggs also contain essential amino acids which the body needs to take in through eating. Consumed in combination with other foods, eggs increase the nutritional value of the overall food intake. In short, eggs supply many of the “building blocks” that the body needs to form its own vital substances.
Vitamins and minerals are oval-shaped
Eggs are chock-full of vitamins. Vitamins A, E, K and those of the B group all lurk within the oval shell. We need vitamin A for healthy growth, reproduction and eyesight; while the B-group vitamins fuel the body’s metabolism, and vitamin E stabilises cell membranes... Eggs also supply such vital mineral substances as phosphor and calcium (for healthy bones and teeth), potassium (for nerves and muscles), and iron, which helps ensure an optimum supply of oxygen to the blood.
Cholesterol – no problem!
This is an extract from “Moderne Ernährungsmärchen” (Food Scares – a Modern Fairy Tale), by S.-D. Vogt, Prof. Dr. M.F. Vogt and D. Northmann, published in 2004 by Schlütersche Verlagsgesellschaft, from the chapter entitled “Märchen rund um’s Ei” (Myths surrounding the egg) (pp 133-140)
An excessive level of cholesterol in the human body is generally considered to be a risk factor only when associated with certain medical conditions. As eggs (or more precisely their yolks) contain cholesterol, they have in the past had an unfairly-bad reputation. The human body actually requires cholesterol in fact, and could not exist without it. This is why the body manufactures its own cholesterol, in amounts that are strictly controlled in the case of healthy individuals. Recent studies have shown the following:
The authors of the book conclude that hen eggs have no influence on the level of cholesterol in the bloodstream. The American Heart Association has also stated that cholesterol from eggs does not suppose any risk of a heart attack. Indeed, other studies have gone on to show that the levels of cholesterol in the blood depend mainly on the body’s own internal mechanisms. The intake of cholesterol through the consumption of eggs is thus regarded as harmless for healthy individuals.
This means that, thanks to the positive nutritional properties listed above, eggs now occupy a more important place in the pyramid of human nutrition than has previously been the case.
The website (http://www.logi-methode.de) of nutritional scientist Dr. Nicolai Worm contains further interesting information and recommendations on the subject of cholesterol and animal protein – with particular reference to eggs!
Other useful links for consumers:
- Information on eggs and hens
- Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV)