Egg Types

While the majority of eggs consumed today are chicken eggs, a variety of eggs from different species of bird are commercially available in different parts of the world, from the petite quail egg to the very large ostrich egg. The data presented in Table 1 compare the caloric, protein, lipid, and cholesterol contents per 100 g for eggs from various species. Eggs from commercial chickens differ from those from wild breeds in that they have lower cholesterol and lipid contents. This difference could be the result of many years of genetic selection of breeds with increased feed-to-egg conversion ratios and faster rates of lay.

The commercial hen used in today's egg production has been selected for optimal feed conversion and egg production along with overall health, disease resistance, livability, and temperament. The majority of egg production is carried out using a battery cage system, which offers a high degree of control over environment, feed, water, hygiene, bio-security, and egg collection. This system also facilitates mechanization. Other production systems include barn and free-range, which offer more freedom to the birds but often lead to higher disease and mortality rates and potentially to increased susceptibility to bacterial contamination of the eggs.

Shifting dietary patterns in the population have resulted in compensatory changes in the egg industry. A major change has been the increased use of eggs in egg products for the pre-prepared packaged-food industry. In the USA over 30% of the total egg production is used to make egg products, and

Table 1 Macronutrient composition of various raw eggs (per 100 g)

Nutrient Species (average egg weight)

Table 1 Macronutrient composition of various raw eggs (per 100 g)

Nutrient Species (average egg weight)

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