February 10, 2011
Cage Confinement of Laying Hens Increases Salmonella Risk
An abundance of science shows that forcing hens to endure confinement inside cages increases the risk of Salmonella compared to keeping hens in a cage-free environment.
In fact, there have been sixteen studies published in the last five years comparing caged and cage-free egg operations, and they all found higher rates of Salmonella in the caged facilities.
Even many in the industry agree that cage systems increase Salmonella risk.
The sixteen studies published in the last five years comparing Salmonella rates in cage and cage-free egg facilities:
2006: 2.8 times greater odds of Salmonella in operations caging hens
The only two studies ever published comparing risk at the consumer level both tied Salmonella infection to cage egg consumption. A prospective case-control study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who recently ate eggs from caged hens had twice the odds of being sickened by Salmonella, and a study [PDF] in Epidemiology and Infection found nearly 5 times lower odds of Salmonella poisoning in consumers who chose eggs from free-range hens.