An egg is an egg, right?

Although we believe that all the eggs produced by a hen are the same, it is not so. A book has just been published that can open our eyes to this.

Ruiz B 90x90 Headshot
Photo by Andrea Gantz
Photo by Andrea Gantz

We have seen the egg in the center of the debate: cholesterol, cages, consumption recommendations, etc. However, the truth is that there is ignorance of this product in many areas.

The egg, like any other natural product, does not always look like another. There are differences in shapes, colors, yolks, sizes, among other characteristics, which also receive a wide variety of influences such as the hen’s breed and age, feed, and climate.

Although it comes in its natural protective wrap, the egg’s quality varies with time and storage conditions. In the face of variations, evaluations of quality have become subjective. Thus, Dr. Ayuko Kashimori published this year “The Illustrated Egg Handbook” (Context Publications, 2017). The book’s technical adaptation was made by Dr. Fernando Cisneros and other collaborators of DSM. Precisely, Cisneros told me the anecdotes of all the work that led Kashimori to write this book and for her to receive the support of her company, Nabel Co. Ltd. of Japan: A whole odyssey!

This illustrated manual is a paragon of virtues and, as its title suggests, it has an excellent collection of color photographs and illustrations, which clearly indicate the defects of the egg.

Although it may at first seem too basic for someone in the poultry industry, because it explains egg structure, oviposition and anatomy of the hen's reproductive system, it is worth studying its pages, because it soon enters into matters such as quality and the available technology for evaluation.

In the following pages it deals with eggshells, internal quality problems and cooking examples, odors and indicators of quality classification.

As a consumer, it is not very common to get to see any of the examples in this book. It would be the last straw! But as a producer or processor, knowing why these things happen can help us to better understand the processes and be more careful. We are talking about pinholes, cracks, fungi, fecal material, deformities, blood, ruptured yolks, different pigmentations – of the shell or yolk – spots on inside of the shell or watery albumen.

If I were an egg producer, processor or egg packer, it would be my bedside book. What do you think?

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