snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Urban Legends > Food

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 20 March 2009, 03:52 AM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 109,647
Chicken Brown eggs vs. white eggs

Comment: I am hearing from friends in the US that they believe that egg
production in the US produces white eggs because of bleaching (in feed or
direct bleaching).
I am of the understanding that white eggs are white because of the breed
of chicken used.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 20 March 2009, 04:46 AM
ET1 (SS)
 
Posts: n/a
Default

A chicken's egg is white, brown, or blue-green due to the breed of chicken.

No feed or bleaching changes it.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 20 March 2009, 04:51 AM
thorny locust's Avatar
thorny locust thorny locust is offline
 
Join Date: 27 April 2007
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 9,374
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Comment: I am hearing from friends in the US that they believe that egg
production in the US produces white eggs because of bleaching (in feed or
direct bleaching).
I am of the understanding that white eggs are white because of the breed
of chicken used.
The color of the shell has to do with the breed of chicken. Some breeds lay white eggs, some lay brown eggs, Araucana chickens lay blue or blue-green eggs.

http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenders...ks/chooks.html

The color of the shell doesn't affect the nutritional content of the eggs. The color of the yolk can be affected by what the chicken has been eating -- the yolks will still be yellow, but may be anywhere from pale yellow to so deep colored they're closer to orange. The chicken's diet can also to some extent affect nutritional content and flavor of the eggs.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 20 March 2009, 03:06 PM
TrishDaDish's Avatar
TrishDaDish TrishDaDish is offline
 
Join Date: 22 February 2004
Location: Portsmouth, RI
Posts: 7,751
Default

None of this was helped by the jingle on t.v. 10 or 20 years ago:

Brown eggs are local eggs
and local eggs are fresh!


It left me scratching my head wondering, "Some local eggs are white, so are you telling me white eggs suck, regardless?"
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 20 March 2009, 03:12 PM
snapdragonfly's Avatar
snapdragonfly snapdragonfly is offline
 
Join Date: 15 March 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 10,731
Icon23

Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
The color of the shell has to do with the breed of chicken. Some breeds lay white eggs, some lay brown eggs, Araucana chickens lay blue or blue-green eggs.

http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenders...ks/chooks.html

The color of the shell doesn't affect the nutritional content of the eggs. The color of the yolk can be affected by what the chicken has been eating -- the yolks will still be yellow, but may be anywhere from pale yellow to so deep colored they're closer to orange. The chicken's diet can also to some extent affect nutritional content and flavor of the eggs.
Yep, absolutely.

I had Americanas, an offshoot breed of Aracuanas, and their eggs were bluish green! On the outside, that is. The yolks of all my chickens eggs were a bright, vivid, orange juice orange color, as they were free ranged, and the omega 3's in the grasses and bugs they pecked at all day long made them that way.

One of my chickens laid pink eggs.

Amazing how the chooks convert bugs and grass into something so fantastic when poached and served on wheat toast. Yum.

Usually brown or red chicken breeds lay brown eggs and white ones such as the White Leghorn (almost ubiquitious in commercial egg production for the past several decades) lay white ones.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 20 March 2009, 03:14 PM
rangerdog's Avatar
rangerdog rangerdog is offline
 
Join Date: 19 July 2002
Location: IOP Soiuth Carolina
Posts: 6,204
Default

My grandma always sold eggs, they were always brown because she had brown egg laying chickens, Rhode Island Reds, IIRC.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 20 March 2009, 03:15 PM
snapdragonfly's Avatar
snapdragonfly snapdragonfly is offline
 
Join Date: 15 March 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 10,731
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrishDaDish View Post
None of this was helped by the jingle on t.v. 10 or 20 years ago:

Brown eggs are local eggs
and local eggs are fresh!


It left me scratching my head wondering, "Some local eggs are white, so are you telling me white eggs suck, regardless?"
Well, that was a case of all apples are fruits but not all fruits are apples, I think. Nowadays there are brown eggs in the grocery store, but ten years or so ago there were not, so with rare exceptions, if you found brown eggs, they were locally raised.

Which, might or might not be fresh, also, but the industry standard for grocery store eggs permits one to be able to buy eggs that might already be several weeks old before they even get to the store, and yard eggs, locally produced by small growers, have a tendency to sell out quickly.

So, brown eggs *could* be local and local *might* mean fresh, and most the time probably so, but it's not like they turn white when they get old or anything.

But after all it *was* a commercial so you know, grain of salt and all.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 20 March 2009, 03:49 PM
Nick Theodorakis Nick Theodorakis is offline
 
Join Date: 05 November 2005
Location: Fishers, IN
Posts: 6,657
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by snapdragonfly View Post
Yep, absolutely.

I had Americanas, an offshoot breed of Aracuanas, and their eggs were bluish green! On the outside, that is. The yolks of all my chickens eggs were a bright, vivid, orange juice orange color, as they were free ranged, and the omega 3's in the grasses and bugs they pecked at all day long made them that way.
...
They may well have increased ω-3 fatty acids, but egg yolk color comes from colored pigments such as xanthophylls that they get in their diet, and they are probably eating a lot of colored vegetable foods.

Nick
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 20 March 2009, 03:53 PM
Melissa's Avatar
Melissa Melissa is offline
 
Join Date: 14 November 2008
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 88
Default

I think that brown eggs also have tougher/thicker shells. I remember my grandma helping me with a 6th grade project where we had to fanagle a device that would keep our eggs intact when dropped from a couple stories up. She insisted I use brown eggs because the shell was stronger.

Following that same, thought, I was thinking that since one usually finds white eggs at the store, maybe most of the egg laying chickens in factory farms are the breeds that lay white eggs. So, maybe the only reason the shells are thinner is because of the process it takes to actually make/lay an egg. Overall, I have no idea, really. I just miss getting my eggs fresh from my MIL.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 20 March 2009, 08:08 PM
ChickMarie's Avatar
ChickMarie ChickMarie is offline
 
Join Date: 08 May 2001
Location: Manchester, TN
Posts: 533
Default

All I know is that some people can get pretty passionate about white vs. brown. I remember my grandmother would always buy brown eggs at the grocery. When I was little I asked my mom why she never bought brown eggs (I thought they were neat). She just said that she preferred white eggs and wouldn't buy brown. I didn't get it and I still don't

I'm on WIC and the pamphlet specifically states that I have to use the voucher for large white eggs, not brown. Why is that?
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 20 March 2009, 08:31 PM
dfresh dfresh is offline
 
Join Date: 11 November 2005
Location: Oxford, PA
Posts: 4,202
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melissa View Post
I think that brown eggs also have tougher/thicker shells. I remember my grandma helping me with a 6th grade project where we had to fanagle a device that would keep our eggs intact when dropped from a couple stories up. She insisted I use brown eggs because the shell was stronger.

Following that same, thought, I was thinking that since one usually finds white eggs at the store, maybe most of the egg laying chickens in factory farms are the breeds that lay white eggs. So, maybe the only reason the shells are thinner is because of the process it takes to actually make/lay an egg. Overall, I have no idea, really. I just miss getting my eggs fresh from my MIL.

Egg shells thicknesses don't vary based on color. Different breeds of chickens produce different quantities of eggs. One of the best layers is the Leghorn, (see the awesome chart posted by thorny), and they produce white eggs. Leghorns are pretty mellow, easy to work with, eat cheaply (convert a good percentage of their feed into meat or eggs), make lots of eggs starting early, and so they are used in lots of production facilities. Hence, you get white eggs from most factory farms.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 20 March 2009, 08:57 PM
A Turtle Named Mack's Avatar
A Turtle Named Mack A Turtle Named Mack is offline
 
Join Date: 21 June 2007
Location: Marietta, GA
Posts: 21,451
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChickMarie View Post
I'm on WIC and the pamphlet specifically states that I have to use the voucher for large white eggs, not brown. Why is that?
I don't actually know, but I am aware of both Food Stamps and WIC having been manipulated for political purposes many times. As has been noted in this thread, the big egg producers generally use Leghorns which produce white eggs. A few campaign contributions can get a specification for white eggs. I would like to say that white eggs are specified because they are usually cheaper than brown eggs (as they are produced in much greater volume), but that runs counter to the specification of large eggs, as you can often get medium and small white eggs for sufficiently less to make up for the difference in size.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 20 March 2009, 09:43 PM
lynnejanet's Avatar
lynnejanet lynnejanet is offline
 
Join Date: 17 December 2003
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,466
Canada

We used to get our eggs "under the table" at the local farmers' market. They haven't been inspected, and are therefore, technically, illegal to sell at the market (I think it's legal to buy them on the farm). The farmers also grow flax, and they feed the chickens flax seed, and the leftover hulls from when the flax seed is pressed for oil. The yolks are a rich, dark orange, and they taste fantastic.

The people who sell them happen to be German, and I am ashamed to admit that we call them the egg nazis. They will only sell eggs to certain people, and only if you show up religiously every single week to buy your eggs. If you miss a week, it's quite literally "no eggs for you!" for the rest of the season . This is why we are not currently buying their eggs. They're lovely people though! They also make amazing homemade sausage.

Mmmmm. Farm fresh eggs.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 21 March 2009, 02:40 PM
thorny locust's Avatar
thorny locust thorny locust is offline
 
Join Date: 27 April 2007
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 9,374
Default

Quote:
Originally posted by Melissa: I think that brown eggs also have tougher/thicker shells. I remember my grandma helping me with a 6th grade project where we had to fanagle a device that would keep our eggs intact when dropped from a couple stories up. She insisted I use brown eggs because the shell was stronger.
I think the thickness of the shells has to do with the diet, as well as possibly the breed of chicken. My guess is that factory-farm chickens are given enough calcium in the diet to prevent their eggs from breaking in the facility and enroute to the store, but not any more than that; while many small farm raised chickens get enough to produce a thicker-shelled egg. As in many areas white eggs were the standard for large operations, any brown eggs in your grandmother's experience were probably from small farm flocks, and stood a better chance of having diets that provided them with more than the bare minimum.

This factor might also account for the impression some people have that brown eggs are otherwise of better quality: in their area, the brown eggs available may have been from farmers who were more interested in overall better quality; the white eggs from operations interested only in greatest possible production per chicken. The quality had nothing to do directly with the color of the eggs; but there was a correlation in particular peoples' experience, and they misunderstood why there was a difference.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ChickMarie View Post
I'm on WIC and the pamphlet specifically states that I have to use the voucher for large white eggs, not brown. Why is that?
Maybe because sometimes there are portions of government regulations that make no logical sense?

Come to think of it, this is not a problem limited to the government.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lynnejanet View Post
We used to get our eggs "under the table" at the local farmers' market. They haven't been inspected, and are therefore, technically, illegal to sell at the market (I think it's legal to buy them on the farm).
Interesting. It's legal to sell eggs at farmers' markets in New York State. You have to keep them at 45º F or less (easily done with coolers and icepacks).

Quote:
They will only sell eggs to certain people, and only if you show up religiously every single week to buy your eggs. If you miss a week, it's quite literally "no eggs for you!" for the rest of the season
That is really strange behaviour. I can only conclude that they have far more customers than they have eggs to sell, and have to annoy enough people so as to keep the customer base down. (What if one of their best customers was in the hospital one week, and couldn't get there?)

And "they will only sell eggs to certain people" would probably get you tossed out of most markets here; it sounds as if it could lead to charges of discrimination.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 21 March 2009, 03:11 PM
Four Kitties's Avatar
Four Kitties Four Kitties is offline
snopes minion
 
Join Date: 29 July 2003
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 23,822
Hello Kitty

Quote:
Originally Posted by snapdragonfly View Post
Nowadays there are brown eggs in the grocery store, but ten years or so ago there were not, so with rare exceptions, if you found brown eggs, they were locally raised.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melissa View Post
Following that same, thought, I was thinking that since one usually finds white eggs at the store, maybe most of the egg laying chickens in factory farms are the breeds that lay white eggs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack View Post
I would like to say that white eggs are specified because they are usually cheaper than brown eggs
Please note where Trish is posting from.

Here in New England, the predominant egg-laying breeds (most notably the aforementioned Rhode Island Red) produce browns. Brown eggs are cheaper than white eggs here, always. They really are local, and therefore cheaper. The commercial campaign Trish talks about runs here every few years: I suspect that because so many people come to New England for college and then stay, we have a significant "imported" population who are less familiar with brown eggs.

At Easter, white eggs which usually run 20 cents a dozen more expensive than browns go up to 70 cents to a dollar more per dozen; the coloring doesn't look as nice on brown eggs. If you want to dye eggs, you will have to pay a significant premium for white.

Personally, I've been conditioned to prefer brown eggs. If white and brown were the same price, I'd still buy brown (except at Easter). But if I lived somewhere where white eggs were more local and therefore cheaper, I'd buy white. It's not as if I eat the shells -- what's inside is the same.

Four Kitties
__________________
“The path to true enlightenment is the ability to formulate and express one's own thoughts, and not somebody else's.” -- Auntie Witch
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 21 March 2009, 08:45 PM
lynnejanet's Avatar
lynnejanet lynnejanet is offline
 
Join Date: 17 December 2003
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,466
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Interesting. It's legal to sell eggs at farmers' markets in New York State. You have to keep them at 45º F or less (easily done with coolers and icepacks).

That is really strange behaviour. I can only conclude that they have far more customers than they have eggs to sell, and have to annoy enough people so as to keep the customer base down. (What if one of their best customers was in the hospital one week, and couldn't get there?)

And "they will only sell eggs to certain people" would probably get you tossed out of most markets here; it sounds as if it could lead to charges of discrimination.
There are some pretty stupid rules here, IMHO:

Quote:
5. (1) No person shall sell or offer for sale within Ontario eggs for human consumption except eggs graded, packed and marked in accordance with this Regulation. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 724, s. 5 (1).

(2) Despite subsection (1), a producer may sell, offer for sale or hold in possession for sale eggs that are not graded, packed and marked as required in this section, if the eggs are produced on the producer’s own farm, are clean and not leaking and are sold or offered for sale to consumers for their own consumption only on the farm premises.
This guy was recently fined $3000 for selling ungraded eggs in Ontario.

Even selling the eggs could get Fred, our friendly egg vendor, kicked out of the Market. I am sure the market manager knows, but he looks the other way, as he does for other minor violations that really don't risk anyone's health.

Fred says he has to know that you will pick up your eggs, so that he doesn't get stuck with them at the end of the day. They run one of the busiest stalls in the market, with a 20-minute sausage line for most of the day. He doesn't want to have to worry about whether to keep eggs for people, or argue with them if he accidentally sells them to someone else.

There are lots of interesting characters at our Market (at most markets, I suspect), among both the vendors and customers.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 21 March 2009, 10:23 PM
thorny locust's Avatar
thorny locust thorny locust is offline
 
Join Date: 27 April 2007
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 9,374
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by lynnejanet View Post
There are some pretty stupid rules here, IMHO:



Even selling the eggs could get Fred, our friendly egg vendor, kicked out of the Market. I am sure the market manager knows, but he looks the other way, as he does for other minor violations that really don't risk anyone's health.

Fred says he has to know that you will pick up your eggs, so that he doesn't get stuck with them at the end of the day. They run one of the busiest stalls in the market, with a 20-minute sausage line for most of the day. He doesn't want to have to worry about whether to keep eggs for people, or argue with them if he accidentally sells them to someone else.

There are lots of interesting characters at our Market (at most markets, I suspect), among both the vendors and customers.
Oh, we have our own crazy laws in New York about what you can and can't sell, or what hoops you need to jump through to do so. They're just fairly reasonable about eggs.

I think he'd do better to just sell eggs as first come first serve, if he can't easily deal with holding orders for people, than to refuse to sell to anyone who can't come every week. Or he could only hold them for a given time -- I'll tell people who come to a 7:30 to noon market, if I'm holding something, that I'll only hold it till 10:00. Then I have a reasonable chance to sell it to somebody else if they don't show up. If the people get there late, but I've still got some left, then of course they can still get theirs. I just can't imagine telling people "No! You can't buy from me if you weren't here last week!"

However I'm obviously not going to come up to your market and try to tell Fred how to run his business -- I can just imagine the reception I'd get if I did!

Wait a minute -- it just occured to me. Maybe he's doing that so he won't accidentally sell them to somebody from your equivalent of Ag and Markets who's come in anonymously to check whether anybody's selling illegally. (They do that in NY). Does he not have them out visibly for sale, but just hand them from a hidden stash to regular customers only? In that case it would make sense. If you want intermittent eggs, come to the farm where he can sell them legally. If you want him to take a risk and bring them to market, then the least you can do is show up every week.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 03:29 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.