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WASHINGTON -- The egg industry's new seal, which assures consumers that the eggs they are purchasing came from hens that were cared for under science-based guidelines, has won approval from federal regulators, the United Egg Producers (UEP) announced yesterday.
The Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have approved the new seal, which is slightly revised from one introduced in 2002, when the program began. The seal is the same size and shape as the original one, but the words have been changed from "Animal Care Certified" to "United Egg Producers Certified." Under the seal is the tagline, "Produced in compliance with United Egg Producers Animal Husbandry Guidelines."
The original seal had been approved by USDA, but the Federal Trade Commission raised some questions about the seal. The UEP proactively decided last month to revise the wording, to ensure that there is no possibility of consumer confusion or misunderstanding about the program or the seal. "We are pleased that our program has received the support it has, and we believe that this will help remove any lingering doubts or concerns," said Gene Gregory, UEP's s.v.p.
Calling the program one of the most "proactive and progressive animal welfare programs in the food industry," Jeff Armstrong, chair of the UEP scientific advisory committee and dean and professor of agriculture and natural resources at Michigan State University, said federal approval of the identifying seal is critical to its success.
The program itself will continue to operate as it has in the past, requiring participating egg producers to provide adequate space, food, water, ventilation and other components to ensure the welfare of the hens. Producers must file monthly compliance reports and are audited by independent authorities.