Yet another scandal has hit the European market , this time involving German and Dutch farmers who fraudulently sold organic eggs. It is alleged that they violated rules regarding the sale of free range and organic eggs that stipulate that a certain number of chickens are to be bred on a farm so that the eggs they lay can be classified as free range. In the case of organic eggs, there are also standards regarding the quality of the chicken feed so that the eggs laid can be classified organic.
In the European Union market, there are three classifications of eggs which depend on how the hens that lay the eggs were raised, which could be free range (chickens are allowed to roam freely on a piece of land), organic (chickens are fed organic food), or battery eggs (chickens are locked in a cage). Consumers prefer the organic and free-range types since they believe that these methods of raising chickens are more humane than the battery type.
Apparently, the Dutch and German farmers were in liaison to cook books and sell the eggs that were laid by the caged/battery eggs as free-range or organic. It was also reported that the hens were neglected and that their feed did not meet the regulated standards. The main reason being floated around as to why these farmers have been able to fool consumers for so long is that the food health officials mainly relied on the farmer’s own reports rather than inspect the farm themselves.
By outward inspection, there is no major visible difference in the three types of eggs, so the customer has no way of knowing how true the stamp on the egg actually is. It is therefore up to the officials in the food sector to carry out frequent on-the-spot inspections to validate the reports given by the farmers.