Egg Safety Miscellaneous

Q: Are hens given antibiotics? Are there antibiotics in my eggs?

A: Egg farmers are committed to producing safe, high-quality eggs and keeping their hens healthy and free from disease. Egg farms may use a limited number of FDA-approved antibiotics, provided they comply with FDA guidelines for usage. These FDA regulations also are designed to assure antibiotic residues are not passed to eggs.

Due to the effective use of vaccines and on-farm disease prevention, only a small percentage of egg-laying flocks ever receive antibiotics. If they do, it is usually under supervision of a veterinarian and only for a short time to treat a specific disease or to prevent a recurring disease.

It’s important to know eggs can only be labeled as antibiotic-free if egg farmers choose not to use any antibiotics in feed or water as the pullets (young hens) are growing or when hens are laying eggs. Certified organic eggs must be antibiotic-free by regulation.

Q: Do egg producers inject their hens with hormones?

A: No. Growth hormones are never given to egg-laying hens in the U.S. Laying hens are fed a high-quality, nutritionally-balanced diet of corn, soybean meal, vitamins and minerals. The feed is carefully formulated with the proper nutrients to produce safe, quality eggs.

Q: Is there any chance the eggs I could buy at the grocery store could be fertilized?

A: Hens that produce eggs commercially never encounter a rooster, so there is no way eggs purchased at the grocery store could be fertilized with an embryo.