Don’t judge an egg (yolk) by its colour

Jean Clavelle, Farm & Food Care Saskatchewan

It’s a common belief that eggs with darker colour yolks are more nutritionally dense and consequently healthier than eggs with lighter coloured yolk.

Yolk colour is determined by the presence or absence of carotenoid pigments in a laying hen’s diet. It does not indicate the quality of its nutritional value.

As it turns out, that’s just not true. Yolk colour is determined by the diet the laying hens are fed. Specific feeds like corn, alfalfa or grasses contain carotenoids. These pigment molecules are absorbed by the hen and deposited in the yolk. Hen diets that contain high levels of carotenoids will result in darker coloured yolks.

In Western Canada the climate, soil and environment allow farmers to easily grow wheat. Wheat that doesn’t meet the high standards for human consumption is used as feed for laying hens. In Eastern Canada, corn is more predominantly grown and not surprisingly, is a common feed source for laying hens. Wheat contains very few carotenoid pigments whereas corn has a high level meaning that table eggs in the east are generally darker than the west.

Free range or backyard laying hens regularly eat plants like alfalfa and grasses that are high in pigments. This explains why free range eggs tend to have darker yolks.

In fact we consumers have come to expect our egg yolks to be a very specific colour depending on the region where we live. Therefore laying hen diets are controlled to ensure the yolk colour comes out just the way we like it, not too light and not too dark. How does that happen you ask? By adding colourant like marigold or capsicum extracts to their feed rations.

So now you know, regardless of the yolk colour and environment of the hen, eggs still pack the same nutritional punch loaded with quality proteins, fats and vitamins and minerals.

 

Have a question? We’d love to hear from you! Email us at info@farmfoodcare.org

 

Meet the face of November in the 2013 Faces of Farming calendar

By Patricia Grotenhuis

Passionate about telling the public about her family’s 200 year old egg farm in Eastern Ontario, Stephanie Campbell has undertaken a number of projects to achieve her goal.

Campbell’s agricultural awareness efforts have spanned her local area, the campus of the University of Guelph, and various events across Ontario.  They have even led to the creation of YouTube videos to share her message with a broader audience.  In 2013, Stephanie will be featured as the face of November in the Faces of Farming Calendar published by Farm & Food Care Ontario. Her appearance in the calendar is sponsored collectively by the Farmers Feed Cities campaign and by Burnbrae Farms.

“I enjoy showing my urban friends the farming life. We try to hold open houses and barn tours at least once a year,” says Campbell.

Stephanie Campbell is the face of November in the 2013 Faces of Farming calendar

Stephanie Campbell is the face of November in the 2013 Faces of Farming calendar

During her time at Guelph while she completed her Crop Science degree, Campbell was secretary of the Poultry Club.  Within two years the club increased to 60 members from 30, and had members both with and without agriculture backgrounds.The poultry club’s main objective was to get students interested and involved in the poultry industry.  They toured farms, worked on a video in partnership with the Poultry Industry Council, and worked with the Turkey Farmers of Ontario on website projects. Continue reading

Addressing the Emotion of Animal Welfare

Guest Blog By Gayle Smith

Animal activists are successfully influencing the consumer’s view of animal welfare by appealing to the core values people believe in, such as compassion, justice, fairness and freedom.

During a recent meeting in Nebraska, a slide depicted two photos. One was of caged laying hens, and the other was a small cage containing two parrots. The message was obvious – why do so many of the public oppose the housing situation for the laying hens, but see no problem with the quality of life of the parrots?

To view the rest of this article, visit this link: http://beefmagazine.com/beef-quality/addressing-emotion-animal-welfare