Do you eat at Subway? If so, you may want to think again. A shocking new investigation in Asia reveals food safety risks and extreme animal cruelty at the supplier to Subway’s egg products producer.
On this supplier’s farms, feces and dirt are caked on the bars of cages where eggs are laid, and feces piles up just inches away from eggs and from the birds themselves. Eggs are smeared with feces and collect on dirt-covered equipment. Mother hens are crammed for nearly their entire lives in cages so small and cruel they are illegal in numerous countries.
Subway has set a timeline for using only cage-free eggs in North America, South America and Europe, but has made no such commitment for Asia—even though cage-free eggs are widely available, and dozens of leading food companies including Starbucks, Kellogg’s, Kraft, Nestle and Compass Group have already set timelines for going cage-free there.
It’s time for Subway to stop discriminating against Asian customers, and set a timeline to end its use of eggs from filthy and cruel caged egg farms.
Subway: I won’t eat at your restaurants again until you treat Asian customers equally and set a timeline to stop serving eggs from hens packed in dirty, cruel cages. It’s time for Subway to go 100% cage-free！
Over a dozen scientific studies have found that caged egg farms have dramatically higher rates of salmonella contamination. The European Food Safety Authority conducted the largest study ever on the issue, analyzing data from five thousand farms. It found that caged egg farms are 25 times more likely to be contaminated with key salmonella strains. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17)
There are numerous reasons why packing hens in cages causes food safety risks. Research by the USDA shows the stress of cage confinement makes hens more vulnerable to disease. Cages are also hard to clean and disinfect, leading to “a larger volume of contaminated fecal material and dust.” (18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23)
Just like dogs and cats, chickens are smart, intelligent individuals that feel pleasure and pain. Packing an animal for nearly her entire life in a cage so small she can barely turn around is simply wrong. (24)
Battery cages are so cruel they have been banned in Michigan, Massachusetts, California, and numerous other states, as well as in dozens of countries. Every mainstream animal protection organization in the U.S. and around the world condemns battery cages as cruel and inhumane. (25, 26, 27)
Here is what just a few such organizations have said:
“Intensive farm animal confinement is barbaric and out of line with contemporary values.”
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
“Hens in cages are more prone to stress and injury, and an increased risk of salmonella.”
World Animal Protection
“It’s inhumane for hens—intelligent, active animals—to be confined to cages so small they can barely move an inch for almost their entire life.”
Humane Society International
These organizations are not associated with this website
Subway continues to buy eggs from suppliers who confine hens in cruel and dirty cages
The investigation revealed feces coating the cage bars and piling up just inches away from the birds
Each mother hen spends nearly her entire life packed in a cage so small she can barely turn around
High quality video footage and photos from the investigation are available for download here. All video clips and photos are in the public domain and can be downloaded and used freely by anyone, including the media.
Subway buys and serves egg patties from processed foods company SureWin Food (祥旺食品). SureWin uses eggs from egg producer Tainan Egg Products (台南蛋品股份有限公司). All video and photos on this site are from farms of Tainan Egg Products. The specific farms shown are named Wel Leung Farm (偉良畜牧場) and Zhenliang Farm (振良畜牧場).
Video proof the footage was taken at these Tainan Egg Products farms, documentation that Tainan Egg Products supplies eggs to SureWin, and documentation that Subway purchases its egg products from Tainan, is available here.
Lever槓桿 is a non-profit organization working to protect farm animals in Asia.
Citations on the food safety risks and animal cruelty of battery cages
1: Van Hoorebeke S, Van Immerseel F, Schulz J, et al. 2010. Determination of the within and between flock prevalence and identification of risk factors for Salmonella infections in laying hen flocks housed in conventional and alternative systems. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 94(1-2):94-100.
2: Snow LC, Davies RH, Christiansen KH, et al. 2010. Investigation of risk factors for Salmonella on commercial egg-laying farms in Great Britain, 2004-2005. Veterinary Record 166(19):579-86.
3: 2010. Annual Report on Zoonoses in Denmark 2009. National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark.
4: Van Hoorebeke S, Van Immerseel F, De Vylder J et al. 2010. The age of production system and previous Salmonella infections on farm are risk factors for low-level Salmonella infections in laying hen flocks. Poultry Science 89:1315-1319.
5: Huneau-Salaün A, Chemaly M, Le Bouquin S, et al. 2009. Risk factors for Salmonella enterica subsp. Enteric contamination in 5 French laying hen flocks at the end of the laying period. Preventative Veterinary Medicine 89:51-8.
6: Green AR, Wesley I, Trampel DW, et al. 2009 Air quality and bird health status in three types of commercial egg layer houses. Journal of Applied Poultry Research 18:605-621.
7: Schulz J, Luecking G, Dewulf J, Hartung J. 2009. Prevalence of Salmonella in German battery cages and alternative housing systems. 14th International congress of the International Society for Animal Hygiene: Sustainable animal husbandry : prevention is better than cure. pp. 699-702. http://www.safehouse-project.eu/vars/fichiers/pub_defaut/Schulz_Salmonella_ISAH%202009.ppt.
8: Namata H, Méroc E, Aerts M, et al. 2008. Salmonella in Belgian laying hens: an identification of risk factors. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 83(3-4):323-36.
9: Mahé A, Bougeard S, Huneau-Salaün A, et al. 2008. Bayesian estimation of flock-level sensitivity of detection of Salmonella spp. Enteritidis and Typhimurium according to the sampling procedure in French laying-hen houses. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 84(1-2):11-26.
10: Pieskus J, et al. 2008. Salmonella incidence in broiler and laying hens with the different housing systems. Journal of Poultry Science 45:227-231.
11: European Food Safety Authority. 2007. Report of the Task Force on Zoonoses Data Collection on the Analysis of the baseline study on the prevalence of Salmonella in holdings of laying hen flocks of Gallus gallus. The EFSA Journal 97. www.efsa.europa.eu/EFSA/efsa_locale-1178620753812_1178620761896.htm.
12: Snow LC, Davies RH, Christiansen KH, et al. 2007. Survey of the prevalence of Salmonella species on commercial laying farms in the United Kingdom. The Veterinary Record 161(14):471-6.
13: Methner U, Diller R, Reiche R, and Böhland K. 2006. [Occurence of salmonellae in laying hens in different housing systems and inferences for control]. Berliner und Münchener tierärztliche Wochenschrift 119(11-12):467-73.
14: Much P, Österreicher E, Lassnig. H. 2007. Results of the EU-wide Baseline Study on the Prevalence of Salmonella spp. in Holdings of Laying Hens in Austria. Archiv für Lebensmittelhygiene 58:225-229.
15: Stepien-Pysniak D. 2010. Occurrence of Gram-negative bacteria in hens’ eggs depending on their source and storage conditions. Polish Journal of Veterinary Sciences 13(3):507-13.
16: Humane Society International, “An HSI Report: Food Safety and Cage Egg Production” (2010). HSI Reports: Farm Animal Protection. 3. http://animalstudiesrepository.org/hsi_reps_fap/3
17: European Food Safety Authority. 2007. Report of the Task Force on Zoonoses Data Collection on the Analysis of the baseline study on the prevalence of Salmonella in holdings of laying hen flocks of Gallus gallus. The EFSA Journal 97. www.efsa.europa.eu/EFSA/efsa_locale-1178620753812_1178620761896.htm
18: The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration. 2004. The national Salmonella control programme for the production of table eggs and broilers 1996-2002. Fødevare Rapport 6, March.
19: Davies R and Breslin M. 2003. Observations on Salmonella contamination of commercial laying farms before and after cleaning and disinfection. The Veterinary Record 152(10):283-7.
20: Methner U, Rabsch W, Reissbrodt R, and Williams PH. 2008. Effect of norepinephrine on colonisation and systemic spread of Salmonella enterica in infected animals: Role of catecholate siderophore precursors and degradation products. International Journal of Medical Microbiology 298(5-6):429-39.
21: Bailey MT, Karaszewski JW, Lubach GR, Coe CL, and Lyte M. 1999. In vivo adaptation of attenuated Salmonella Typhimurium results in increased growth upon exposure to norepinephrine. Physiology and Behavior 67(3):359-64.
22: Shini S, Kaiser P, Shini A, and Bryden WL. 2008. Biological response of chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus) induced by corticosterone and a bacterial endotoxin. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part B. 149(2):324-33.
23: Rostagno MH. 2009. Can stress in farm animals increase food safety risk? Foodborne Pathogens and Disease 6(7):767-76.
24: Marino, L. 2017. Thinking chickens: a review of cognition, emotion, and behavior in the domestic chicken. Animal Cognition 20(2): 127–147.
25: “European_Union_Council_Directive_1999/74/EC.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Web 03 August 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union_Council_Directive_1999/74/EC
26: “Farm Animal Confinement Bans.” American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Web. 03 August 2018, www.aspca.org/animal-protection/public-policy/farm-animal-confinement-bans
27: World Organization for Animal Health, “Terrestrial Animal Health Code” (2017). www.rr-africa.oie.int/docspdf/en/Codes/en_csat-vol1.pdf