Sunny-Side-Up Gets Sunnier:
UNH Now Serves Eggs From Cage-Free, Certified Humane NH Farm
Contact: Beth Potier
UNH Media Relations
Dec. 20, 2005
DURHAM, N.H. – If the eggs served at the University of New
Hampshire seem a little happier and healthier, it’s because
they now come from chickens that have been raised cage-free in a
certified humane way. UNH, a leader in sustainable food service,
will now buy all its shelled eggs from a certified humane chicken
farm in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, making it the first
university in the nation to serve certified humane products.
“Our students and customers are increasingly aware of how
their food is raised or produced,” said University Hospitality
Services (UHS) assistant director Rick MacDonald. “Moving
to certified-humane cage-free eggs complements our efforts to serve
local and sustainable food when possible.” MacDonald notes
that cage-free eggs, which come from hens raised with all-natural
vegetarian feed, are higher in healthy Omega 3 fats.
Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs, located in the northern New
Hampshire town of Monroe, will supply UNH with the approximately
quarter of a million eggs the university consumes per year in its
dining halls as well as through catering, conferences and at the
New England Center. Most of those eggs will be Nellie’s
Nest Cage-Free Eggs, which are produced and distributed by Pete
“As a family farm, we think this is a fantastic opportunity
to introduce future customers to the benefits of cage-free eggs,”
said Jesse Laflamme, co-owner of Pete and Gerry’s Organic
Eggs and Nellie’s Nest Cage-Free Eggs. Laflamme notes that
his grandfather Les Ward, founder of the company, studied poultry
husbandry at UNH before World War II. “UNH is where it all
began,” says Laflamme. Pete and Gerry’s was the first
egg producer in the U.S. to be designated certified humane.
“Certified humane,” a designation granted by the non-profit
Humane Farm Animal Care Program, indicates that the eggs have been
produced to standards that include a nutritious diet without antibiotics
or hormones and animals raised with shelter, resting areas, sufficient
space, and the ability to engage in natural behaviors. “We
welcome UNH as the first university to serve eggs that are ‘certified
humane’ and commend them for taking a stand to help improve
the life of farm animals,” said Adele Douglass, executive
director of the Humane Farm Animal Care Program.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which collaborated
with UHS as well as the UNH Office of Sustainability on the initiative,
also applauded the move. “The University of New Hampshire
has taken a leadership role in animal welfare by phasing out the
sale of eggs from caged birds. We applaud their efforts to
help reduce animal suffering and encourage other schools to follow
suit,” said HSUS Factory Farming Campaign Manager Paul Shapiro.
According to HSUS, the nation’s largest animal protection
organization, approximately 95 percent of eggs sold in the U.S.
come from hens confined in barren “battery cages,” wire
enclosures so small the birds can’t spread their wings or
engage in many other natural behaviors.
UHS, an award-winning dining service nationally recognized for its
innovative offerings, boasts a number of forward-looking sustainability
initiatives. “We’re very focused on making an impact
by serving locally grown and produced food,” said MacDonald.
That focus is part of an innovative collaboration with the UNH Office
of Sustainability called Local Harvest, which emphasizes serving
local and regional foods in UNH dining halls, restaurants, and at
catered special events. “Our collaboration with University
Hospitality Services is an integral part of a broad community-wide
food and society initiative that includes an educational commitment
that spans across teaching, research, operations and extension such
as the dining halls,” said Thomas Kelley, director of the
Office of Sustainability.
In September 2005, a first-of-its-kind Local Harvest dinner brought
more than 1500 students, faculty, staff and community members to
a university dining hall for a culinary celebration of local agriculture
that included exotic and familiar items from farms and producers
from New Hampshire and New England. Other projects of the Local
Harvest initiative are UHS’s strong support for the UNH Organic
Gardening Club, a food waste composting program, and a recently
launched waste vegetable oil project that will produce biodiesel
for heating greenhouses and powering farm tractors.