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Barilla Becomes First Pasta Maker to Join National Cage-Free Egg Movement

Chicagoland-based Barilla, the world’s largest pasta maker, has announced that it will switch 45 percent of the eggs in its supply chain to cage-free in 2011, becoming the first company in its industry to join the growing movement away from using eggs from caged hens.

“Barilla’s new animal welfare policy will spare countless hens from life crammed inside tiny cages,” said Matthew Prescott, corporate outreach director of The HSUS’ factory farming campaign. “We applaud the company for taking animal welfare seriously by partially switching to cage-free eggs, and we hope others in the food industry follow its lead.”

Across the country, a national movement away from using eggs from hens confined in cages has taken root: Kraft, Sara Lee, and Otis Spunkmeyer are switching millions of eggs in their products to cage-free; Hellmann's mayonnaise announced plans to convert the 350 million eggs it uses in the U.S. to cage-free; Burger King, Subway, Sonic, Wendy's, Arby’s, Denny's, Carl's Jr., Hardee's, Quiznos, Cracker Barrel and Golden Corral are just some of the restaurant chains that use cage-free eggs; and Wal-Mart's and Costco's private brand eggs are exclusively cage-free.

Michigan and California have passed laws to outlaw cage confinement of hens, and similar legislation is pending elsewhere. California enacted a law that requires all whole eggs sold statewide to be cage-free by 2015.

"Product quality, safety, nutrition and sustainability are key pillars for our Company,” wrote Barilla in a letter to The HSUS. “To this end, Barilla’s policy on supply chain management takes into consideration not only health and wellbeing of people, but also the health and wellbeing of animals."

Barilla has headquarters in Italy and in the Chicago suburb of Bannockburn, Ill.


  • U.S. factory farms confine about 280 million hens in cages so small, they can't even spread their wings. Extensive scientific research confirms this causes suffering.
  • Cage-free hens generally have two to three times more space per bird than caged hens. Cage-free hens may not be able to go outside and, like caged hens, may have parts of their beaks cut off, but they can walk, spread their wings and lay their eggs in nests—all behaviors permanently denied to hens crammed into cages.
  • Factory farming is a major social issue: A study by food industry consultancy, Technomic, ranked animal welfare as the third-most important social issue to restaurant patrons; an American Farm Bureau-funded report found that 89 percent of Americans believe that food companies that require their suppliers to treat farm animals better are doing the right thing. 


Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching “HumaneTV” in the App Store.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization—backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty—on the web at humanesociety.org.