Cage Free Fraud

The Lempert Report
April 15, 2022

Phil: And right before, um, we came on live today, I got a press release breaking news, press release from the humane society. Great group. Let me start there, love the humane society, but, but I'm angry about this. The governor's regulatory review council in Arizona just approved regulations from the Arizona department of agriculture requiring that all eggs sold in the state, as well as those produced in the state must come from hens from cage free confinement. The start date is January 1st, 2025. Um, they go on to say, the chickens in the egg industry are confined inside cages about the size of our home microwaves.

Phil: Each chicken can barely, we move an inch and is unable to spread their wings. I agree with all that, and we need to make a change, but the change for me is not cage free. The change for me is free range. It's where chickens are allowed to, you know, run around outside, um, this regulation. And I'm reading from the Arizona house of representatives. Um, we report 54th legislator, second regular session. Um, so what they have to do is allow one square foot of usable floor space per he in a cage free housing system that allows hen's unfettered access to vertical space, meaning that they could fly up and down, but one's square foot is probably smaller than my microwave or one and a half square feet of usual floor space per hand in a cage free housing system that does not provide hens with unfettered access to fly around.

Phil: So my concern is that the average consumer in Arizona and, and throw at the us when they hear cage free, they don't understand what it means. And when I look at the prices, the average price of a dozen eggs in 2021 across the us was 1 79. Um, I went online here in Southern California, um, right before we went on and, uh, Ralph's simple truth, natural cage free, a large brown eggs are 3 47, a 12 pack of Kroger cage free, double eggs, not brown are 2 99. Um, and then I went and I looked to see how much money eggs cost in various states. The eggs are the cheapest in Illinois, Michigan, and Kansas, Illinois. It's only 42 cents for a dozen eggs. Michigan is 48 cents. Kansas is 68 cents. And the most expensive places, um, are, as you would imagine, Hawaii, Alaska here in California, Louisiana, and so on. So I'm, I'm really just concerned that when we see these things, the prices go up and for a lot of people, you know, eggs are their primary source of protein. And you take a jump from, you know, 48 cents, um, for a dozen eggs to two 50 are higher because it has the cage tree label and that's gonna hurt a lot of families.

Sally: Yes, I think you're right. Phil it's it's, it's not necessarily about the logo. It's about understanding what it means. And, um, I think this can get really tricky and confusing and hopefully it is, you know, the purpose of the logo is to encourage food manufacturers to make their products healthier so that they can get that logo. But, um, but there's going to be a lot of gray area and, you know, that's, we've gotta, we've gotta teach consumers how to translate this information.