Forced Molting

The Incredible IN-EDIBLE Egg

“[B]etween 1985 and 1998 . . . over three-quarters of Salmonella Enteritidis outbreaks were linked to eggs.”
– Centers for Disease Control

One reason is that the US egg industry periodically removes all food from laying hens for up to two weeks straight in order to manipulate egg production. This practice, known as forced molting, impairs hens' immune systems, causing them and their eggs to become infested with disease organisms.


  • USDA Food Safety & Inspection Service: "FSIS recognizes that public health concerns are raised by highly stressful forced molting practices. For example, extended starvation and water deprivation practices lead to increased shedding of Salmonella enteritidis (Se) by laying hens subjected to these practices." – Letter to UPC Aug 21, 1998


  • "Influence of Disease on Egg Quality," Egg Industry, June 1999: "Reduced feed and water intake is the most detrimental and universal aspect of disease" in hens used for egg production (p. 10).

  • "Salmonella Control and Molting of Egg-Laying Flocks – Are They Compatible," University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service (Fact Sheet VM 92, July 1994): "The stress resulting from an induced molt significantly depresses the cellular immune response in laying hens and will increase the severity of a concurrent intestinal SE infection. Molted birds shed significantly higher numbers of SE during a forced molt as compared to unmolted birds. The ceca and colon of the molting hens also have more severe inflammation than non-molted birds. . . . No matter what specific or combination of factors are involved in causing increased susceptibility of laying hens to SE infection, the fact remains that laying hens undergoing a forced molt by feed removal are under stress and are more likely to become salmonella shedders as compared to non-molted hens."
What Can I Do?
  • Order Replacing Eggs from United Poultry Concerns and learn how easy and delicious it is to replace eggs in your diet. 16 great recipes. $3.50.

  • Tell The Today Show to stop promoting the Incredible In-Edible Egg. The majority of eggs come from suffering, sick, debeaked hens imprisoned in filthy wire cages and subjected to deliberate starvation. Many survivors choke to death when food is returned to these featherless skeletons following 1-2 weeks of "feed withdrawal." The debeaked hens cannot preen or eat properly either. They develop tumors and suffer from phantom limb pain in the nerve endings where the baby hen's beak was amputated at the hatchery. Every egg is filled with misery, and the egg industry is merciless. This industry suffocates to death and grinds up alive a quarter of a billion male chicks every year because roosters don't lay eggs. The Today Show should not support this. Factory eggs are neither healthy nor humane. Contact:

    Jeff Zucker, Executive Producer
    The Today Show
    30 Rockefeller Plaza
    New York, NY 10112-0002
    Tel 212-664-2830
    Viewer Services: 212-664-2333 (takes phoned-in comments)
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