Thursday, April 3, 2008

Certified Boring

I thought I knew how to begin this post until I clicked through to the Eggology website and got cold-cocked by the U2 song the company is using to brand themselves as progressive and humane and whatever other feel-good vibes (self-determination and righteousness?) we associate with U2, Bono and rock and roll.

I'm pretty sure I was going to write something on the order of "Well, I suppose it's great that Eggology's line of whites only (no, you are not supposed to think of Jim Crow now, these are chicken eggs) products are organic and certified humane but why does this feel like the organic produce thing all over again?"

When organic produce first started appearing in supermarkets, I was hopeful that I was witnessing the beginning of a new era of better tasting and looking stuff to cook and eat. And at first this seemed to be the case. The earliest organic produce was more interesting than the gargantuan conventionally produced watery stuff.

But in what in retrospect seems like five or six heart beats, the organic stuff became just as watery, huge and tasteless as the finest chemically enhanced products of the soil. AND it was more expensive. Later, as the organoleptic qualities of the mass produced organic produce became indistinguishable from the conventionally grown stuff, the price difference would diminish, so that the only reason to buy organic was the perception that it was healthier because it presumably did not contain "bad" man made chemicals. But for someone like myself who worships "flavor" with the fervor of a baptist preacher up to his waist in water and a line of supplicants up and over the river bank, organic supermarket food is a big YAWN.

So now add "organic and certified humane" egg whites and pre-boiled eggs to the list of foods that are more interesting to me for what they are not (something I want to eat) than anything else. Whatever. I think I'm going to go make myself some pancakes.

Eggology Becomes First Egg Products Brand "Certified Humane"


Tags said...

I tend to look with a jaundiced eye at anyone who submits as a "correction" the same statement in ALL CAPS.

Tags said...

Certified nosy, too. They put a lot of cookies on your computer, even if you just go there once.

Crazy Raven Productions said...

I wanted to look at the site, but I hate U2 with the heat of a thousand suns. Seriously. They're like licking a cheese grater to me. Yes, I know Bono's a big activist and all, but his music blows.

Sean said...

While organic produce has certainly been coopted by mainstream agriculture, I think you are dismissing it unfairly. The fact that farm workers are not exposed to the same level of dangerous pesticides on an organic farm is motivation enough for me to purchase organic produce regardless of whether I derive any health benefit from the reduction in pesticide use over conventional produce (which I doubt). Organic farming, even on large scales, is more environmentally sustainable and uses less fossil fuels than conventional farming. I try to purchase local, organic produce as much as possible but if it comes down to two heads of romaine grown halfway across the country, I will choose the organic every time.

As for these egg products, there is a substantial difference in the welfare of the hens involved in producing them than in a conventional operation. While their better treatment will probably not translate into a significantly better tasting product, simply choosing the "humane," organic alternative in this case will save millions of hens a great deal of suffering and signal to the market that consumers care about animal welfare. Is the marginal difference in cost justification enough for forgoing the more humane alternative?

Bob del Grosso said...

Oy Sean
I work on an organic farm that is "certified humane." The farm produces milk and eggs and produce during the Pa. growing season.

Our milk and eggs are great, the Eggology stuff is
crap and all other stuff like it is crap.
I do see your point: it's great that Eggology is organic and that the workers don't have to ingest pesticides, but as a chef what they are selling still gives me the creeps.

Sean said...

Well you'll get no argument from me that what you're producing is not only a much better product but more humane as well. My point was only that all else being equal, if one is going to purchase mass produced food products one should consider the side effects of an organic versus conventional product. It would be great if smaller, regional operations like the farm where you work could supply all of the food that local residents may desire but given the nature of our society, I doubt this will ever be the case. So long as the market for this crap exists, I'll advise people to pick the lesser of evils just as I advise them to choose more humane animal products even if ideally, from my perspective, they wouldn't be consuming in the first place.

Bob del Grosso said...

I fear you may be right: humanely produced organic garbage seems a better choice than inhumanely produce d garbage that is loaded up with pesticides and other potentially dangerous stuff.

junglegirl said...

Anyway, as we all embrace our small, excellent, local farms and keep them productive and financially flush, then that will eventually eliminate the issue, I feel. Nothing stops any of us from adopting the lifestyle we want to sustain ourselves. I haven't shopped at a large-scale grocery store, organic or not, for literally years and I've lived all over.

It's not that I wouldn't, I just make choices that serve my well-being and pleasure, up to and including growing it myself if I have to. Luckily, the neighbor down the road about a mile has a biodynamic CSA on 6 acres, so I'm good for now. Woo hoo!