Egg producers agree on new logo

Digest

October 06, 2005|By MEREDITH COHN | MEREDITH COHN,SUN REPORTER

Egg producers have agreed to stop stamping their "Animal Care Certified" logo on cartons of eggs sold at groceries nationwide by April, ending a two-year campaign by a local animal rights group that complained the message was misleading.

The United Egg Producers, the trade group that came up with the logo, said it believes its guidelines are humane but agreed to change the logo to "United Egg Producers Certified" to settle the issue.

The Takoma Park-based Compassion Over Killing had filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau because it said egg producers, among other things, are permitted to confine hens in cages so small they can't spread their wings.

The bureau declared the logo misleading in 2003. The FTC didn't take formal action, although it did "encourage" the change, said Mary Engle, the agency's associate director of the Division of Advertising Practices.

"This victory is important for both animals and consumers," said Erica Meier, Compassion Over Killing's executive director. "While the egg industry's husbandry guidelines still permit routine animal cruelty, at least the new logo will no longer convey a false message of humane animal care."

The egg producers said they voluntarily changed the logo because the lack of a government ruling left them distracted.

Mitch Head, a spokesman for the producers, said the group's animal care guidelines were adopted by the group five years ago based on an independent commission's recommendations about hen cage space, diet and protections from weather, disease and predators.

He said consumers should choose whether they want their eggs produced by free-roaming hens or conventionally caged ones. Only about 2 percent of eggs come from cage-free birds now, largely because they are more than twice the price, he said.

"We were looking to move on," he said of the new logo. "We thought it would please everyone, and it did."

meredith.cohn@baltsun.com

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