It Pays to Speak Up

It only takes one person to change things. This morning I received a phone call from Christopher Gould, Team Lead, Congressional & Public Affairs Staff, USDA Food Safety & Inspection Service.

This is in reference to the claim on the USDA’s website that many eggs reach stores only a few days after the hen lays them, a claim I know is not true. This is what he said and later confirmed by email:

I just spoke with you on the phone about eggs, and wanted to give you my contact information. As I said on the phone, since the line “many eggs reach stores only a few days after the hen lays them” is not really the point of the fact sheet – which is about food safety and how to read product dates – we will go ahead and remove that specific text.

He didn’t know if the statement would be removed from their website today, next week, or within a month, so I’ll check periodically and let you know when they remove that claim. He also didn’t know how or who put that statement on their website. From what I can tell, it has been there for many years.

I also called the American Egg Board this morning and talked to them regarding the claim they make on a handout for teachers and students. On the handout they say, “Most eggs in the U.S. reach grocery stores and other retail outlets just one-to-two days after being laid and nearly all of them reach the store within 72 hours or three days.”

They say that statement is based on information from the USDA. Someone qualified to answer my questions about the validity of that claim is supposed to call me back. It will be interesting to hear how they justify that claim, and who in the USDA is telling them that.

See also:

Considering the vastness of the universe, having the USDA remove an inaccurate claim about egg freshness is probably of no significance to anyone but me and a handful of others who care about the freshness of their eggs. But it is something that little ’ol me in rural Washington state, is able to, with a few emails and phone calls, get a US Federal Agency to make a correction to their website.

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