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Organic versus Conventional Production Methods and Hen Egg Quality

1 January 2012, at 12:00am

Polish researchers found the type of hen raising method - organic versus conventional – had a statistically significant influence on white index, yolk index and pH of yolk, according to a summary from Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

Background and Methodology

The goal of this study was to evaluate the quality of eggs available in Poland’s Tri-City market from conventional and organic poultry production systems. The study used analytical methods set by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Poland, along with weight proportion of egg components, their pH, condition and index of egg white, and flattening and index of the yolk. Eggs came from two poultry facilities: one with all hens on one floor (conventional) and another that was a certified organic, free-range farm. Ten batches of eggs from each facility were examined. Each batch was comprised of 10 eggs. The study was conducted from June to July 2004.

Findings

Of the examined eggs from conventional facilities, 38 per cent were classified as Class A eggs, 60 per cent as Class B eggs and 2 per cent as Class C eggs. An opposite proportion was observed for organic eggs: Class A eggs dominated (64 per cent), whereas 32 per cent of the examined eggs were Class B eggs and four per cent Class C eggs.

The size of air cell in organic eggs ranged from 2 to 5mm, while in the conventional eggs the average was 4.3mm. In this case, a statistically significant correlation was detected between the types of eggs. The examined eggs differed in weight and per cent distribution of specific components. Free-range eggs, on average, had heavier yolks, a higher pH and dense white index than the conventional eggs. The type of hen raising method had a statistically significant influence on white index, yolk index and pH of yolk.

Reference

Smiechowska, M. and Dmowski, P. 2005. Influence of raising method on the quality of hen eggs. Polish Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences, 14/55, SI 1,117-120.

January 2012