The United Egg Producers says its UEP certified label is on a large percentage of eggs produced in the U.S. This label means the eggs originate from farms like Hillandale Farms, which tend to follow responsible and science-based practices for hen health and well-being. These practices are meant for both regular and cage-free farms.The UEP certified label implies that the relevant egg producers have producers met most of the requirements in a set of standards developed by the United Egg Producers, who are quite a prominent cooperative trade group for egg producers.
Hillandale Farms talks about UEP certification
UEP Certified program was developed as an animal welfare program with the aim of improving the well-being and health of hens laying eggs, as well as meeting the expectations of discerning customers. The very first UEP Certified guidelines were established way back in 2002 by the United Egg Producers. These guidelines set standards for hen well-being, and were backed by decades of research and recommendations from an independent Scientific Advisory Committee. Currently, about 90% of the eggs produced in the United States come from farms that take part in the UEP certified program voluntarily, and choose to open their farms to discerning independent auditors.
The key hen well-being requirements of the UEP certification program include:
Feed, clean water, and fresh air available to the hens at all times
Code of conduct that is signed by employees trained in animal care
Annual compliance assessment conducted by independent, third-party auditors
Scientifically-supported standards for allotment of space for hens in discerning housing environments
With periodic updates to account for continuous improvement and new research, UEP certification is essentially an acknowledged leader in science-based guidelines on the well-being of eggs. This certification has been endorsed by the National Council of Chain Restaurants (association of fast food restaurants), as well as the Food Marketing Institute (association of retail grocers).
UEP certification offers standards for hens housed in both conventional cage and cage-free housing. Almost two decades ago, UEP convened an independent Scientific Advisory Committee to evaluate well-being standards for egg-laying hens, review the existing research, carry out new research, and also provide recommendations for improvements for egg farms.
Well-established egg farms like Hillandale Farms know that good hen care can be provided in a variety of housing options and settings. UEP additionally supports just about all methods of hen housing, as long as they provide assurance for proper hen well-being and manage to meet or exceed the relevant food safety guidelines. Such systems commonly keep the hens indoors. This is useful in protecting flocks from predators and even harsh weather conditions. Contemporary hen housing is designed to ensure the health and well-being of hens while enabling proper flock management, and ensuring a safe, fresh, affordable supply of eggs for consumers.