US egg producer dropped by McDonald’s

The egg supplier that provided all of the eggs used by McDonald’s in the west of the USA has been dropped after an undercover camera exposé revealed animal cruelty and unsanitary conditions on their farms.

Footage broadcast on ABC News America, filmed last summer by animal rights group Mercy for Animals, shows poultry workers at Sparboe Farms tying birds to strings and throwing them around the factory, dragging them along the ground and tossing them in the air.

The footage also showed dead birds being removed from cages – the carcasses appeared to have been in cages with living birds for many months. Dead and living rats and mice were also seen on the ground, as well as eggs covered in faeces.

Sparboe Farms, which is based in Minnesota but has farms in Colorado and Iowa, is the fifth largest egg producer in the USA.

McDonald’s dropped Sparboe, citing concerns over the management of the company.

“McDonald’s expects all of our suppliers to meet our stringent requirements for delivering high-quality food prepared in a humane and responsible manner,” said a statement provided to ABC News.

Since the footage aired on 18 November, a host of other companies have dropped Sparboe’s eggs, including Target and Lunds and Byerly’s supermarkets.

Management at the company has started a “Sustainability Task Force”, which will review the company’s food safety, animal care and sustainability to tackle the issues raised in the undercover footage.

Sparboe is the only large egg producer in the USA that has fought against the United Egg Producers and Humane Society Bill, which is set to be introduced to Congress, to set a federally implemented minimum level of conditions for laying hens.

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