I hear this one a lot, and it get's tiring answering it all the time. Mind you, all meat has hormones since animals have extensive endocrine systems, but there has been a law in place since 1959 that banned the use of growth hormones in all poultry. And even when the law passed, most people didn't use them because it was pretty ineffective. If you see poultry products that are labeled as "No Hormones Added", it's basically a marketing scheme. You're probably paying more for identical products.
Another common one. Shell color is determined by the breed of the bird. Nothing else. The quality and nutrition of the egg is determined by the age of the egg (older eggs have worse quality) and the bird's diet. Even then, we can really only change the yolk contents slightly because of the high lipid content. If we feed birds diets with more fat soluble vitamins or omega fatty acids, more of it goes into the yolk of the egg.
Sometimes people really don't understand the economics of raising birds. I'm fine with alternative housing systems, but they are just more expensive. Expecting every egg or bird that you eat to be raised in cage free or free range situations will make the price skyrocket. We will need a lot more space, feed, and health care for the birds. You might be able to afford it, but people with a lower income might n
If you buy a commercial egg, it's not fertile. They are all female farms, and if a male happens to sneak through, it is removed. As far as nutrition of the egg goes, you are not gaining any nutrition by allowing a few cells to divide. If anything, I would say that you are losing nutrition in the egg because of metabolism and CO2 and water loss, but that's my opinion.
Europe does a lot of things differently. Not badly, or better than us, just differently. One of my old managers took a trip to Europe and told me a bit about their egg production. They don't wash their eggs over there, and focus a lot on getting a clean egg out of the housing facilities. They rely on the cuticle of the egg, a protective coating that protects the eggs from microbes, to prevent the egg from getting food-borne illnesses. They also don't refrigerate them. However, people tend to go to the store a lot more often than Americans. Your eggs, if unwashed, can sit on the counter for and still a couple of days and still safe to eat. American's don't go to the store every couple of days though. We like grocery shopping on a weekly basis. Because of this, we wash the eggs and refrigerate them.
I once had an argument for half an hour with a girl that was convinced that this was true. Chickens are not people. They don't have our version of manners. I had a flock of 75 free-range birds. They had 40 acres to roam and they stayed in about 3 acres of it. They still chased after each other and had a pecking order where the top birds would peck the crap out of the lower birds, and keep them from eating and drinking the good food and water I placed out for them. Even if I placed the food and water out in multiple places, they would do this. I've seen birds in cages, and they still pick on each other. But instead of having one bird against hundreds, the bird only has to worry about it's pen-mates (about 6 others). Sometimes not having enrichment causes more pecking behaviors, but that's why more producers are moving to enriched systems. It's impossible to totally remove this pecking behavior from chickens. It's how they establish who is the boss and who isn't.
I had an international student tell me this before, and I had a terrible time trying to explain to him what was wrong with this statement. KFC buys chicken meat, and then sells it to you cooked. They have contracts with processing centers that say something like, "Hey, for this price, I will buy all your meat. Deal?" and they agree. There are numerous laws that prevent the processing centers from engaging in animal cruelty like this, and if the USDA inspector sees this, he/she will shut the plant down in seconds. I've met a few, and they are unforgiving. They aren't hired by the processing centers, and they are not paid by the processing centers.
This was my first album about my job/education. I know a few of you guys have questions about caging systems, and I could probably do a whole other album on it. If you guys have questions, message them to me and I'll do one next week for you. All farming questions are welcome, and I will try my hardest to answer them correctly.
*Edit* About the European's not refrigerating eggs: I was apparently told a piece of misinformation. I do apologize. This was info that my old manager told me after his tours. He was in France, Germany, and Italy (I don't know the towns). I'll keep this in mind for the future. However, eggs can still be stored on the counter for about 10 days when unwashed (and still have great quality).