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Eggs: helping us learn about sustainability and food safety Part 1

JeffArmstrong talks with Kirk Heinze on WJR

Don't be afraid to eat eggs.

Recent salmonella outbreaks in eggs from Iowa sparked a conversation about animals and food safety in this week's Greening of the Great Lakes with Michigan State University's Dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Jeff Armstrong.

Illnesses from salmonella eggs were tracked back to Iowa farms and for the past few weeks this issue has raised a lot of negative attention by several groups against consuming animal products and large animal farms, Armstrong says.

"Science backs it up — this is not indicative of the system," Armstrong says. "If you have a lot of animals and you have a big farm and you have a problem it's a problem, but it doesn't mean the system's inherently bad."

The egg industry went from having about 10,000 egg farms in the mid-1970s to less than 200 today, Armstrong says.

This fact alone shows the economics of the egg industry and how drastically the market has changed. Many people are unaware of the complexities that come along with operating an egg farm and Armstrong emphasizes how a farm is managed makes the most effective impact.

Many studies have been done by a committee of scientists concerning animal welfare and whether chickens should be caged or not, Armstrong says.

"We focus first and foremost on animal welfare," Armstrong says.

There are a wide range of differences in caged and free-range birds, but scientists have been unable to determine if one is better than the other, Armstrong says.

Click on the arrow above to hear part one of Armstrong's September 17 Greening of the Great Lakes conversation with Kirk HeinzeGreening of the Great Lakes airs every Friday at 7 p.m. on News/Talk 760 WJR.

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