SOURCE: Hidden Villa Ranch

September 20, 2006 13:24 ET

Checking Your Eggs Before They Hatch

Hidden Villa Ranch First Egg Distributor to Provide National Cage-Free Egg "Certified Humane" Program

FULLERTON, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- September 20, 2006 --The number of health-conscious and ethical eaters are growing, which explains the increase in demand for foods that are certified organic and humane. But is the rush on specialty eggs all it's cracked up to be, or is it just hype?

Michael Sencer of Hidden Villa Ranch, one of the largest egg marketers in the United States, says it is the future of their business to convert their cage-free shell, liquid and commercial hard boil eggs to Certified Humane cage-free. And he says the company is taking all of the right steps to ensure its cage-free claim has value.

"The easy way is to slap a cage-free claim on the packaging and hope for the best, but we refuse to take that risk," says Sencer. "The only way you can know for sure if an egg is cage-free is to have the eggs certified by a third party. We are choosing to go that route and want to be held accountable. It's important to our company and our customers."

Hidden Villa Ranch is the first egg marketer in the United States to provide a national retail Certified Humane cage-free egg program, which will be sold under the Wild Oats brand. The company's cage-free eggs that it produces for the Wild Oats private label brand are now "Certified Humane" and will soon carry the Humane Farm Animal Care's (HFAC) "Certified Humane" logo.

"Hidden Villa Ranch was the only company that could meet our demand for 'Certified Humane' eggs on a national level," said David Young, director of corporate brands for Wild Oats Markets. "Our rigorous criteria for product selection meets the highest standards in the natural foods industry. Providing our customers with the 'right' cage-free eggs under our own brand name is a priority."

HFAC's Animal Care Standards were developed by a veritable "Who's Who" of national and international animal scientists and farm-animal welfare experts. Producer compliance with the HFAC standards is verified through annual on-site visits by HFAC's third-party inspectors. HFAC is a national nonprofit organization supported by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), regional and local animal protection organizations, foundations and individuals (http://www.certifiedhumane.org).

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