HOUSTON An undercover investigation has exposed deplorable conditions at a Texas egg farm, and those conditions could impact you.
In fact, there s a good chance you ve actually purchased eggs from the Cal-Maine factory egg farm in Waelder, Texas.
Waelder is located about two hours west of Houston.
The Humane Society of the United States unveiled the results this week of an undercover investigation into the operations of Cal-Maine Foods specifically the egg-laying facilities in Waelder, one of 37 such operations collectively producing over 20 million eggs a day.
Cal-Maine isn t just any egg company. This is the largest egg producer in the nation, Paul Shapiro, senior director of the Humane Society s factory farming campaign, said.
For 28 days, the Humane Society says one of its investigators worked at the Waelder facility, documenting conditions that might make you think twice about having that incredible, edible egg for breakfast.
Really, the most incredible thing is how much cruelty and food safety risk the industry is perpetrating, Shapiro said.
The Humane Society investigator said he found birds laying eggs meant for human consumption on top of the rotting corpses of other birds in their cages.
Other birds had reportedly become trapped in the cage wire and were dying of dehydration literally inches away from water.
Still other birds were seen flailing in manure pits. And there s more.
These birds lay so many eggs, their uterus sometimes simply falls out of their body, Shapiro said.
On its website Wednesday, Cal-Maine issued a written response to the investigation, which reads, in part:
Cal-Maine foods has been a leader in accepting and implementing animal welfare measures. All of the company s facilities are operated in full compliance with existing environment, health and safety laws.
Cal-Maine distributes eggs under various brand names to stores throughout the Houston area.
11 News traced Waelder plant eggs to two local Randalls, where they were being marketed under the name Lucerne, and at H-E-B stores, where they are branded as Hill Country Fare.
H-E-B was referring all calls about the eggs to Cal-Maine Foods.
A Randalls spokesperson there said the retailer has strict standards for egg vendors, and that they re working closely with Cal-Maine to gather additional information on the conditions at its facilities.
The Humane Society of the United States noted that the issue isn t just about animal cruelty, but also public health.
One recent study found that salmonella contamination was 20 times higher in caged eggs, compared to cage-free eggs.