All About Eggs
September 19, 2014

Fact Sheet © Jamie Oliver

All about eggs title

 

an egg

Eggs are one of nature’s greatest food parcels! They are an excellent source of protein so can play a valuable part in a balanced diet, especially for vegetarians who aren’t get- ting protein in their diet from meat. Eggs are packed with essential amino acids – the building blocks of protein – and are vital for hormone production and for the growth and repair of the body.

Eggs are a good source of vitamins, particularly B vitamins and vitamins A, D and E. They are also a source of minerals including phosphorous, which is good for healthy bones, and zinc, which aids growth and contributes towards a healthy
immune system.

WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING EGGS?

British Lion eggs

british lion egg

You’ll see the British Lion mark on over 85% of eggs produced in the UK. This logo is the stamp of approval from the British Egg Marketing Board. The British Lion mark is proof that the eggs have been produced to the highest standards of food safety, and a strict code of practice incorporating the latest research and advice on eggs and salmonella (see below), so look for it when shopping.

Check out the British Egg Information Service website for more information

BATTERY VS. FREE-RANGE

Most of the eggs sold in the EU are laid by hens kept in cramped, overcrowded cages stacked one on top of the other – these are known as ‘battery cages’. In caged systems, hens are kept four to a cage with less usable space than an A4 sheet of paper. Being kept in wire cages causes fragile bones and damaged feet and the cramped conditions prevent hens from flapping their wings, stretching and moving about.

This often causes frustration and aggression, from which there is no escape. Many people believe this is not a humane way to treat hens, and for that reason the majority of the UK retailers now sell free-range eggs, though this still makes up less than half of the UK production. Free- range hens live in barns with access to an outdoor range during the day where they can peck, dust bathe and scratch about (see All About Chickens).

Wherever possible, look for boxes of eggs with ‘free-range’ or the RSPCA’s Freedom Food logo on them. This logo indicates that the food has been produced according to higher standards of animal welfare. It’s the best way to know that the eggs you are buying are reared to RSPCA welfare standards.

freedom foods logo

Visit the Freedom Food website for more information

WHERE SHOULD YOU KEEP EGGS?

  • It is a popular belief that eggs need to be kept in the fridge. This isn’t necessary, but it will keep them fresher for longer because their quality deteriorates much faster at room temperature.
  • The simplest way to store eggs is in the box you buy them in. Egg shells are porous and can absorb the odours of other foods so try to keep them away from anything strong-smelling, like fish.
  • Make sure you use eggs by the ‘best before’ date shown on the egg or the box.

 

ARE THERE ANY SAFETY ISSUES WITH EGGS?

Salmonella is a bacterium that caused a large number of reported cases of food poisoning in Europe in the 1980s.

Many of these cases were associated with the consumption of raw or lightly cooked eggs. At the time, health authorities estimated that one in every 10,000 eggs carried this form of salmonella. However, salmonella has pretty much been eliminated today.
Health warning

  • Certain groups of people, such as young children, the elderly and pregnant women, may have weaker immune systems, which put them at higher risk of contracting salmonella. To be on the safe side, they should avoid
  • eating foods that contain raw egg home
  • made mayonnaise or chocolate mousse

a chicken

 

Why not try out one of these great Egg recipes from Jamie’s Home Cooking Skills Website

For more Fact Sheets visit Jamie’s Home Cooking Skills

© All recipe photgraphy David Loftus and Matt Russell.


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