Cage-free eggs are laid by hens that are able to roam vertically and horizontally in indoor houses, and have access to fresh food and water. Cage-free systems vary from farm-to-farm, and can include multi-tier aviaries. They must allow hens to exhibit natural behaviors and include enrichments such as scratch areas, perches and nests. Hens must have access to litter, protection from predators and be able to move in a barn in a manner that promotes bird welfare.learn more
Have questions about hen care, egg production, UEP Certified standards, or carbon footprint of eggs? Check our Frequently Asked Questions.learn more
Egg farmers are committed to providing the best care possible for their hens. To demonstrate this commitment, United Egg Producers (UEP) developed guidelines for optimal hen well-being – guidelines that are backed by decades of research and recommendations from an independent Scientific Advisory Committee. UEP Certified established guidelines for conventional cage housing in 2002 and for cage-free in 2006.
More than 85 percent of eggs produced in the U.S. come from farms that voluntarily participate in UEP Certified, choosing to open their farms to independent auditors. Eggs from certified farms feature the UEP Certified seal on the egg carton.
United Egg Producers (UEP) is a cooperative of U.S. egg farmers working collaboratively to address legislative, regulatory and advocacy issues impacting the industry through active farmer-member leadership, a unified voice and partnership across the agriculture community. UEP’s farmer-members work to provide for the health and well-being of their birds; to produce safe, nutritious, high-quality eggs; and to manage their farms responsibly with best on-farm management practices. Leadership of and participation in the UEP Certified program by the vast majority of egg producers further demonstrates a broad commitment to the care of egg-laying hens. UEP also manages the national Egg Safety Center, a leading resource for consumer and industry information on the safe production of eggs and prevention of disease. Formed in 1968, UEP members represent 95 percent of US egg production.
Nearly 20 years ago, in 1999, UEP convened an independent, unpaid Scientific Advisory Committee to evaluate egg-laying hen well-being standards, review existing research, conduct new research and recommend changes for egg farms. The first recommendations from this advisory committee became the foundation for UEP Certified. The advisory committee continues today, for ongoing review of new research and modern egg farm standards.advisory committee
Dr. Larry Sadler joined the UEP team as Vice President of Animal Welfare in 2017 and works with egg farmers, customers and supply chain managers, and industry thought leaders to focus on continuous improvement and to find innovative solutions that advance the health and well-being of hens. “Farmers want to do the right thing when […]
Dr. Hongwei Xin, Environmental Liaison for the UEP Certified Scientific Advisory Committee, has been selected by peers to receive the 2018 Cyrus Hall McCormick-Jerome Increase Case Gold Medal Award. Established in 1932, this award recognizes “Exceptional and Meritorious Engineering Achievement in Agriculture” and is sponsored by CNH Global. The award will be presented during the […]
Egg farmers are vigilant in setting and maintaining advanced biosecurity protocols, and biosecurity programs have improved significantly over the past three years. UEP and egg farmers collaborate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, state agencies, veterinarians and public health officials to responsibly evaluate biosecurity and address the needs of the hens, farms, employees and local […]
The UEP Certified program provides guidelines and third-party audits that support egg farmers in providing the best care possible for their hens. Click to download the complete (cage and cage-free) guidelines.download