Eggs - one of the most natural breakfast foods

OTTAWA, Feb. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - Like others who grow food, Canada's egg farmers are on the forefront providing Canadians with wholesome nutritious meals. To egg farmers from coast to coast, it's a matter of pride producing one of nature's best foods in a way that respects the environment and the hens that lay the eggs.

Egg Farmers of Canada's field officers inspect farms for food safety and animal welfare. In fact, their food safety program Start Clean-Stay Clean(TM) is recognized by the Canadian government's food inspection agency as technically sound. Their animal care program is backed by the science found in a code of practice that was developed by veterinarians, scientists, the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, egg farmers and egg processors.

Eggs sold at supermarkets have been washed at grading plants which are registered and inspected by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. During grading, the eggs are "candled", or placed over a bright light so the candler can see through the shell and check for quality. The eggs are then dried before being gently placed in new, clean cartons.

Eggs are one of nature's most nutritious foods and a natural, wholesome source of high quality protein that powers us to learn, work and play. Eggs have vitamins A, D, E and folate in addition to other micronutrients that maintain good vision and brain function. And in today's economy, they are one of the least expensive foods found in the meat and alternatives food group of Canada's Food Guide.

There are a variety of eggs on supermarket shelves to meet the taste of today's savvy consumer:

Regular white and brown: These classic eggs are your best buy. There is no nutritional difference between white and brown eggs. The colour of the shell is determined by the breed of the hen.

Omega-3: Hens are very efficient at transferring nutrients found in feed into the egg. While all eggs have omega-3 fatty acids, hens eating feed with flax seed will lay eggs that have a greater amount of omega-3 fatty acids. The best source of these heart-healthy fats is fish but because many Canadians don't eat the recommended two servings of fish a week, omega-3 eggs may be a good choice for some people.

Free-run eggs: Hens roam the barn. These eggs are a little pricier.

Free-range eggs: Hens have access to the outdoors when weather permits; like free-run eggs, these are pricier.

Certified organic eggs: These eggs are produced according to a national organic standard and are often the most expensive.

There is no nutritional difference among regular eggs and free-run, free-range and organic eggs. And whatever eggs you choose, you may rest assured they do not have any hormones or steroids; it's been illegal to give these to poultry, including egg laying hens, in North America for well over 30 years. Eggs remain among the most natural foods there are.

Here are some quick facts about eggs:

    
      -  Squeeze an egg end-to-end and you won't be able to break it.
      -  The colour of the yolk depends on the kind of feed. Hens fed corn
         will lay a dark yellow yolk. Hens fed wheat will lay a pale yellow
         yolk. The hen's feed is balanced to ensure she gets all the
         nutrients she needs.
      -  Egg farmers check their flocks every day. They monitor feed and
         water consumption in the barn daily as any reduction in feed or
         water intake could indicate a health problem with their flocks.
      -  Egg farming is environment friendly. Hen manure is excellent
         fertilizer. Hens are kept away from waterways and most of the eggs
         you purchase in your grocery store are produced in your province,
         close to home.
      -  Avoid the mid-morning growlies by making sure you and your children
         have eggs for breakfast. The protein in eggs helps you stay fuller
         longer, right until lunch.
      -  The yolks contain about half of the protein found in eggs and most
         of the vitamins and minerals.

    Try the following recipe for a quick, easy-to-make breakfast:

    Egg in a Bread Basket
    ---------------------
    Ingredients

    1        slice whole wheat bread      1

    2 tsp    butter                       10 mL

    1 tbsp   salsa                        15 mL

    1        egg                          1

    2 tsp    chopped green onion          10 mL

    2 tsp    chopped green pepper         10 mL

    1 tbsp   shredded Monterey Jack
              or Mozzarella cheese        15 mL
    

Method:

Trim crust from bread; discard or save crust for another use. Spread one side of bread with butter. Place butter-side down in large custard cup or ramekin (about 1 cup/250 mL size). Spoon salsa onto bread. Crack egg on top. Sprinkle green onion, green pepper and cheese over top. Microwave on HIGH until yolk is cooked as desired, about 1 to 2 minutes.

For a variation, try the following combinations:

    
      -  Smoked salmon or herb cream cheese, diced green onion and chopped
         fresh dill
      -  Chopped ham and Swiss cheese
      -  Diced tomatoes, chopped fresh basil and diced green onion
    

Serves 1; preparation time 3 minutes; cooking time 1 minute

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/

SOURCE Egg Farmers of Canada

For further information: For further information: please contact: Bernadette Cox, Egg Farmers of Canada, (613) 238-2514


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