Campus dining serves cage-free eggs

UIC’s dining halls are serving cage-free eggs.

UIC’s dining halls are now a little greener.

In January, UIC Dining Services switched to 100 percent cage-free eggs, a move toward making the campus more sustainable.

UIC’s Dining Services wanted to make the switch for some time, but lacked the student-led support EcoCampus and the Humane League were able to generate. EcoCampus reached out to students and student groups around campus and collected enough support through petitions and letters to encourage making the switch.

“We wanted to make sure the decisions we’re making are important to our students, our customers,” said Heather Payne, marketing director for UIC Dining Services.

“Really, we just needed to recognize that there was that interest in the movement.”

In addition to more humane treatment of animals, cage-free eggs provide other benefits related to health and sustainability.

There is less of a chance of salmonella poisoning because of the decrease in hormonal stress for the chicken. The waste in the air and on the ground is greatly reduced as well, resulting in improved working conditions.

There’s even a positive mark left on the environment. Farmers usually take waste from chickens raised in cages and either dump it in rivers or burn it. With cage-free eggs, farmers use the chicken waste as fertilizer on farm fields, said David Klawitter, president of EcoCampus.

“It’s actually integrated into a farm system instead of being factory produced,” he said.

“It’s a good example of showing the university, ‘Hey, there are sustainable things that are realistic, that have good benefits and are easily done.’”

These same cage-free eggs are being used in Au Bon Pain, a bistro-style restaurant which opened in late February in the Behavioral Sciences Building, replacing Skinner’s Grill.

“As soon as we came on campus we started working on getting a different platform in there, and Au Bon Pain was the first one we wanted to put in there,” Payne said. “I think the students will be happy.”

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