Thursday, October 7, 2021

Who cares about egg quality?

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has a mandate to check graded eggs to ensure they meet the standards claimed on packaging.

The Egg Farmers of Ontario marketing board has an interest in quality to maintain consumer confidence in the integrity of the grading system.

The two ought to co-operate, yet there is evidence that the egg board is not interested.

It argued against an inquiry into grading by the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission on the basis that it was part of a lawsuit between Sweda Farms and the egg board, Burnbrae Farms and L.H. Gray and Sons Ltd.

That seems to be merely ducking the issue and the opportunity and responsibility to check on grading.

Reports from random sample surveys conducted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency consistently show, over a number of years, that not all eggs in Grade A packaging meet that standard. Typically there are five per cent or more that are cracked or dirty.

The egg board has a conflict of interest on this issue since it garners levies, which fund its operations, only on Grade A eggs. Eliminating cracks and dirts would reduce its revenues. But it doesn't deserve this money and it undermines consumer confidence in eggs.

The egg board's policy manual outlines a specific manner in which it could co-operate with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency - by providing information about the age of flocks and to which grading station they are marketed. Eggs from older birds are more prone to cracking.

It has never done that. 

As I said before, where is the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission sleeping? Why are farmers so meek to seek their own best interests? Might they fear reprisals from the dominant graders or the board?