Is labeling for the birds?

Proposed bill stipulates chickens come before eggs.

Joshua Baethge, Policy editor

January 25, 2024

1 Min Read
Brown and white eggs in cartons
Getty Images/CatLane

While much of the attention in Washington this month has focused on budgets and borders, a bipartisan group of lawmakers are working on legislation they say will better protect chicken producers. On Jan. 12, Reps. Elise Stefanik, R- N.Y., and Susan Wild, D- Pa., introduced the Consistent Egg Labels Act. It would prohibit the makers of egg alternatives from labeling their products as “eggs.”

“Misbranded egg alternatives do not deliver the same nutritional value, yet profit off of deceiving consumers with the use of terms such as ‘egg’ in their marketing,” Stefanik says. “This mislabeling is not only confusing for American consumers, but it is false advertising.”

Sens. John Fetterman, D- Pa. and Joni Ernst, R- Iowa, introduced similar legislation in the Senate last week. The bill only allows products to be labeled “eggs” if they contain, or are derived from, the reproductive output of an avian poultry species.

“Our commonwealth is the fourth largest egg producing state in the country, making eggs a critical part of Pennsylvania’s agricultural and economic strength,” Fetterman says. “The Consistent Egg Labels Act will protect farmers and consumers by prohibiting eggs alternatives from misrepresenting themselves.”

FDA would be required to create a rule enforcement plan 90 to 180 days after the bill becomes law. Within two years, FDA would also have to submit a report to Congress detailing its enforcement actions.

United Egg Producers CEO Chad Gregory says his organization is grateful for the legislation.

“Eggs remain one of nature’s most perfect foods, and imitation products cannot compete with the unmatched protein and nutrients found in eggs,” he says. “Our farmer-members, who produce the vast majority of the nation’s eggs, recognize the need for clarity on labels for consumers, and the Consistent Egg Labels Act provides that transparency.”

About the Author(s)

Joshua Baethge

Policy editor, Farm Progress

Joshua Baethge covers a wide range of government issues affecting agriculture. Before joining Farm Progress, he spent 10 years as a news and feature reporter in Texas. During that time, he covered multiple state and local government entities, while also writing about real estate, nightlife, culture and whatever else was the news of the day.

Baethge earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, discovering new restaurants, finding excuses to be outside and traveling as much as possible. He is based in the Dallas area where he lives with his wife and two kids.

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