Massachusetts has proposed legislation restricting the sale of eggs to the “cage-free” variety. (subscription to Food Chemical News required)

  • With consumers’ increasing appetite for more ethical food options, a number of food manufacturers are now marketing “cage-free” eggs.
  • States are getting in on the cage-free action as well.  For example, earlier this summer, the Massachusetts Supreme Court approved a ballot initiative proposing that Massachusetts farms and businesses produce and sell only eggs from cage-free hen; the sale of eggs from caged hen would be effectively prohibited under this measure which will be up for a vote this November.  The National Association of Egg Farmers pushed back, citing research that cage-free production does not necessarily lead to “better welfare” outcomes for the birds.
  • It remains to be seen the extent to which consumers’ continuing shift toward ethically-minded foods will result in additional legislative and regulatory efforts along the lines of the upcoming Massachusetts ballot initiative.