Pet Peeve #1: Vegetarian Fed

Sometimes there are things that get under your skin and pet peeve #1 is one of them.  Take a good look at this egg carton and see if you can tell me what is wrong with it.


Let’s zoom in for a closer look.


Anyone selling eggs should know better but it boils down to being ALL about advertizing and appealing to the consumer’s misguided perceptions.

First of all it is illegal to sell feed with meat, meat by-products  or bone meal in any form to chickens. So by saying it is “vegetarian fed”  implies that some chickens are fed meat.  This is not true. Period.

Secondly,  it shows the stupidity of our world.  Chickens love bugs, flies, crickets, grasshoppers, worms and will even eat a mouse or small snake if one happens to across their path.  There is no way you can  keep a chicken from eating any of the above “meats” unless they are kept in cages with very sterile conditions and use  lots of pesticides.  The customer then cries “foul” (excuse the pun!).  They want cage-free, free-range hens  that are running around outdoors laying their eggs.  Ironically these same customers will  buy meal-worms treats to hand feed their “vegetarian-fed” hens!  The only part of the formula for free-range chickens being  “vegetarian-fed” is what the human puts in their feed trough.  Of course free-range is the most natural and healthiest way to raise chickens but just remember, free-range are technically not just ‘vegetarian-fed”!

It is also amazing to me the use of the word “fresh”.  Webster says “fresh” means “just recently as in recently laid egg”.   Now, really, who wants to eat something old?  But have you noticed you can hard-boil eggs you buy in the store but not freshly laid eggs?  That means means they are at least a week or more old by the time you buy them.   So if “fresh” (farm fresh, country fresh) applies to eggs purchased in a grocery store, what word applies to true “fresh” eggs?  There is nothing wrong with store-purchased eggs but they aren’t really “fresh”.  The eggs in a store come from a poultry farm producing high quality eggs meeting the highest of USDA standards but it takes time to get the eggs from the farm to the consumer. It is amazing it happens as quickly as it does.

Just for the record, I am in no way questioning the quality of store-purchased eggs.  After all, they originate from a hard-working farmer striving to provide a quality product for the consumer to eat. The grocery store is one avenue to get the product to the consumer.  I am “pet-peeved” about the advertizing!

Sometimes I see ads for “vegetarian-fed” beef.  Just for the record;  NO COW EATS MEAT!  Cows only eat grains and legumes or grasses.  Again, it is illegal to put any meat, meat by-products or bone meal in any form in cattle feed.  But the consumer sees the ad blip and translates it into a fact; “this beef is healthier and better for you because it was not fed meat”.

As a beef and egg producer it irritates me how the media is so subtle in how it misguides the consumer. I understand that most consumers are too far removed from the farm to know the “truth” but the same consumers are often a vocal voice and “experts” in their misguided information.




  1. Fiona Said:

    Great post! The use of trendy words makes me crazy…lets face it there is very little food in a grocery store that has not travelled days and many miles to get to the consumer. The use of the word “fresh” is ridiculous when it comes to things that are imported from, Chile, Indonesia, China and other places all around the world [just to name a few countries the USA imports food from].

    Then you mention Vegetarian…..good greif! In this day and age with all the good and useful information available for the consumer to access about their food the marketing divisions throw these smoke screens out there to get people to buy their products! Sorry I am ranting but your post hit the nail on the head about food and the unreality of it all!

  2. Graham Donahue Said:

    This is one of my pet-peeves too! I guess the “vegitarian fed beef” could be carried over from when bone meal was allowed to be fed to cattle.

    One of my pet-peeves about labeling is the people who advertize a product as one thing, when it is really something else. Though I am a proponent of grass fed beef, I don’t have a problem with people selling grain finished beef. There is a market for it. But if it is grain finished, sell it as grain finished, don’t sell it as grass finished.

    I think labels can be helpful to customers, but I think we need to be honest, not misleading with them.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Pat Said:

      And grain-fed beef does eat lots of grass and hay!

  3. Kendra L Said:

    I have yet to buy a gallon of milk that doesn’t have a phrase telling us that none their producers use artificial hormones, with the note in much smaller print that the artificial hormones don’t make a significant difference. ?? Why do they bother printing either? Or the fact that every single product on the market–except dairy products–are rated by how much fat they do not have rather than how much they do have? If I sold whole milk and said it was 96% fat free, most people would think that was amazing. I’ve always wondered why dairy is marketed that way. Another one that bugs me are things labeled gluten free that have always been gluten free, just to make people think they’re better.

  4. Kendra L Said:

    Also, I’ve been wondering whether it really is illegal to feed animal by-products to chickens. A man at our church drives truck from the poultry plant to the rendering plant to the feed mill, so it would seem SOMETHING is going into the feed. Do you know that for sure?

    I googled it this morning and found this in the first paragraph in a document from the national rendering association:

    “One-third to one-half of each animal produced for meat, milk, eggs, and fiber is not consumed by humans. These
    raw materials are subjected to rendering processes resulting in many useful products. Meat and bone meal, meat meal,poultry meal, hydrolyzed feather meal, blood meal, fish meal, and animal fats are the primary products resulting from the rendering process. The most important and valuable use for these animal by-products is as feed ingredients for livestock,poultry, aquaculture, and companion animals.”

    Here’s the link to the article.

  5. Pat Said:

    Kendra, I am of the understanding it is illegal. Maybe I am wrong on the “illegal” word but I don’t think so. I did go look at the Purina feed tags. Most feeds fed to animals for food consumption are not fed meat or bone-meal. It is stamped on the tags of Purina Poultry feeds, some of their horse feeds and cattle feeds. The fish food, and of course dog, cat food, monkey, etc does have poultry meal in it. Beef is where the main concern lies because of the mad-cow scare. Most pet foods now use poultry, lamb and turkey instead of beef.

    This does not make beef a “bad” product. But for example, beef sold after a certain age has the bone removed from the steaks.

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