Only In America . . . TM

Copyright © 2002 Frank G. Van Atta. All rights reserved.


Starting next week, Chicken Wire Industries will begin enforcing their policy barring Extra Large and Giant size eggs from being packed in Large egg cartons.

"We have received thousands of complaints from our regular Large eggs that they are being crowded out of their cartons by increasing numbers of oversized eggs," Humpty Dumpty Hughes, President and CEO of Chicken Wire told reporters in Houston yesterday. "So we are implementing strict guidelines limiting egg sizes in our Large cartons. Oversize eggs will either have to pay extra or travel in separate cartons."

All Chicken Wire plants and carton-filling locations have been equipped with egg gauges -- big pieces of plastic with circles cut out of them to indicate the largest allowable size for a Large egg. Any egg which can't fit through the holes will be rejected and will have to ride to market in a different carton or pay a premium to ride in the Large carton.

"These strict size regulations have been on our books for many years," Hughes said, "but the guidelines have always been loosely interpreted in order to promote harmony and provide a friendlier transportation environment. Unfortunately, the increasing number of larger size eggs taking advantage of our liberal policies have made the cartons uncomfortable for everyone and forced us to take action."

Chicken Wire is the first in the industry to enforce size limitations, and other egg producers are watching closely to see what happens. "We certainly have no intention of doing something stupid and cutting our own economic throats," a spokesman for the National Coalition of Egg Producers said in a prepared statement. "If the general egg population accepts these size limits, then our other members will probably institute similar regulations. But if there is a huge backlash against Chicken Wire, then they're on their own."

And it seems that the backlash has already begun. The Wide Bodied Egg Foundation filed suit in federal court yesterday asking for an injunction against the new regulations, calling them unfair, unconstitutional, and unsanitary.

"I am appalled that an American egg producer would even think of implementing such a policy," Hardshell McTort, attorney for the Wide Bodied Egg Foundation said. "There is plenty of room in the cartons for eggs of every shape and weight, and enforcing size regulations against Extra Large and Giant size eggs is not only discriminatory, but borders on racism. The next thing you know they will be wanting brown eggs to ride in separate cartons. I am here to see that that doesn't happen."

Wide Bodied members chanting "Chicken Wire is Chicken S___!" picketed Chicken Wire headquarters and threatened a total boycott of the egg producer if it didn't reverse its stand on oversize eggs. They were joined on the picket lines by members of the Union of Egg Sucking Dogs and the Omelet Chefs of America in a show of solidarity.

Meanwhile, the American Society of Normal Eggs applauded the new guidelines, calling complaints by their larger cousins baseless. "I had to sit in a carton next to one of those Extra Large's coming up here," one regular egg said, "and it certainly isn't a comfortable way to travel. Several friends of mine have even been cracked by being jammed up against a bigger egg and ended up as omelets. Their hopes of being hard boiled were ruined forever."

Copyright © 2002 Frank G. Van Atta. All rights reserved.