Berlin Introduces World's First 'No-Kill' Egg

iStock.com/FatCamera
iStock.com/FatCamera

The chicken and egg selections in your local supermarket are very much a matriarchy. Male chicks do not lay eggs and don’t pack on enough meat to make them attractive to raise for consumption. As a result, they’re typically destroyed in ways that would make anyone cringe—the chicks are often either suffocated with gas or sent into a mulcher to become feed.

That could soon change, thanks to an innovation spearheaded by German scientists. A new, “no-kill” egg is now on sale in Berlin, and it may hold the potential to end the practice of discarding male chicks by identifying their sex before hatching.

According to The Guardian, a patented process dubbed “SELEGGT” can pinpoint the sex of a chick just nine days after an egg has been fertilized. Female eggs go on to hatch; male eggs are processed for animal feed. The process would eliminate the live culling of male chicks after hatching.

SELEGGT was championed by the REWE Group, a retail franchise that was looking to increase the sustainability of its eggs. REWE consulted with the University of Leipzig, where scientists developed a method of detection similar to a pregnancy test. A chemical marker detects a hormone known as estrone sulfate that’s present in high quantities in female eggs. Fluid taken from the egg is mixed with the marker and offers a color-coded identification of the sex—blue for female, white for male. The accuracy rate is said to be 98.5 percent.

REWE then sought out a way to perform the test at a speed suitable for mass production. Instead of using a needle, a laser creates a 0.3 millimeter hole in the shell, with air pressure forcing a tiny amount of fluid from the opening. An egg can be sampled in just one second without being touched.

The first grouping of hens that were reared without having to kill any hatched male chicks appeared earlier this year. Their eggs, sold under the label “Respeggt,” went on sale in November, with plans to expand throughout Europe. According to REWE, the process adds only a few cents to the cost of a carton.

Other companies have made similar advancements: Vital Farms in Austin is working on identifying gases leaking through egg pores that can determine sex in just two days—but SELEGGT is the first to come to market. As one or more of these strategies are implemented throughout the poultry industry, it’s hoped that the practice of male chick culling will be eliminated.

[h/t The Guardian]

Why Are There 10 Hot Dogs to a Pack But Only 8 Buns?

tacar/iStock via Getty Images
tacar/iStock via Getty Images

Watching competitive eating champion Joey Chestnut cram dozens of hot dogs down his throat would make anyone crave a grilled log of processed meat this summer. But shopping for hot dogs can be a confusing experience. The dogs are typically sold in packs of 10, but the buns are sold in packs of eight. What's behind this strange dog and bun inequality?

According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council—yes, there is a National Hot Dog and Sausage Council—there’s a good reason for the discrepancy. For starters, distributors of hot dogs are almost always different from manufacturers of baked goods like rolls. The hot dogs are sold in packs of 10 because producers of meat (or meat-like) products selected that quantity when hot dogs started to sell at retail grocery stores in the 1940s. Oscar Mayer, which led the charge into direct-to-consumer hot dog packaging, sold hot dogs by the pound in accordance with how meat is typically priced. Having 10 dogs that weighed 1.6 ounces each seemed like the ideal distribution of weight.

Bakeries, meanwhile, have standards of their own. Buns and sandwich rolls are usually sold eight to a pack because the baking trays for the elongated buns are typically sized to fit that number. Two sets of four buns come off the tray, which is the reason why buns are often still attached to one another when you open a bag.

These standards were created independently of one another: Bakeries weren’t too preoccupied with hot dogs when they were settling on a four-roll tray standard, and hot dog manufacturers weren’t thinking about how difficult it would be for bakeries to break from their conveyor system to offer 10 buns to a pack.

It can be frustrating if you buy just one or two packages of each, but if you’re hosting a big enough party, the uneven number doesn’t matter. You just need to buy five packages of buns and four packages of hot dogs to have 40 matching pairs. No complicated calculations required.

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Two Eco-Minded Kids in England Are Petitioning McDonald’s and Burger King to Nix Plastic Toys

romrodinka/iStock via Getty Images
romrodinka/iStock via Getty Images

Some kids are not content to wait around while the grown-ups sort out the future of our planet. Two of them, 9-year-old Ella and 7-year-old Caitlin, have launched a petition on Change.org requesting that McDonald’s and Burger King stop giving out plastic toys with their kid’s meals, Thrillist reports.

“Children only play with the plastic toys they give us for a few minutes before they get thrown away and harm animals and pollute the sea,” the British girls wrote on Change.org. “We want anything they give us to be sustainable so we can protect the planet for us and for future generations.” The petition has almost 400,000 signatures so far, and their current goal is to reach 500,000.

McDonald's Happy Meal
McDonald's

Last October, UK environment minister Thérèse Coffey also implored McDonald’s to stop giving out plastic toys, suggesting instead that they develop smartphone-friendly games to accompany the meals. At the time, a UK McDonald’s spokesman acknowledged the importance of reducing plastic waste and cited their promise to switch to paper straws, but countered the assumption that the plastic toys were only used for a few minutes, telling The Telegraph that they “provide many more fun-filled hours at home, too.”

The fast food giant did study the environmental effects of their toys last year and found that they are hard to recycle, since they’re manufactured from various types of plastic. As a result, McDonald’s is researching more Earth-friendly ways to make their toys. A Burger King representative told The Wall Street Journal that it, too, is exploring “alternative toy solutions.”

But according to Ella and Caitlin, “It’s not enough to make recyclable plastic toys—big, rich companies shouldn’t be making toys out of plastic at all.” The young activists themselves recycle as much as they can, and even hung a poster in their window about saving the planet.

You can sign their petition here, and learn how to reduce your own environmental impact.

[h/t Thrillist]

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