Toilet Paper, Meat, Hand Sanitizer - We've certainly had our fair share of shortages in Massachusetts since March of 2020, but what about the eggs?

Yes, that's right. Eggs. Unlike other panic-driven shortages that emptied grocery store shelves, farmers say that the potential egg shortage in Massachusetts is a serious fear steaming for new regulations passed by lawmakers back in 2016.

According to Food Safety News, the law passed five years ago was put into place to advocate for farm animals in Massachusetts like pigs, calves, and laying hens. As far as its effect on egg-laying hens, it required that birds "be able to spread both wings without touching the sides of enclosures or have 1.5 square feet of usable floor space for each hen."

Regulations were supposed to go into effect in December of this year, with the officially enacting on January 1, 2022, however, many Massachusetts farmers are saying it's clear that few egg producers could meet the Massachusetts standard according to The Boston Globe.

Another law is now being presented by state lawmakers to reduce the minimum required for each laying hen to one square foot in hopes to alleviate the expected shortage.

While some animal rights activists want to continue regulations that give the birds more room, it is worth noting that Massachusetts is among the states that have required some form of cage-free housing systems to replace so-called battery cages.

 

Battery cages on average provide only 67 square inches of space per hen, about the size and shape of a desk drawer — not enough space to fully open wings, let alone to run, or jump.

Food Safety News

 

 

The egg industry warns that up to 90 percent of the eggs currently being supplied to the state will disappear from shelves in 2022 unless the Legislature changes upcoming new standards for those that may be sold in Massachusetts supermarkets.

The Boston Globe

Both lawmakers and egg suppliers are hopeful can reach an agreement by the end of the year to avoid the shortage, but the notoriously glacier pace of the legislature has many unconvinced as the resolution will happen in time.

According to The Boston Globe, six state lawmakers were appointed in October to mediate the bill, however, they have yet to announce an agreement.

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