We’re not “egg-xactly” sure when/why/how chicken jokes became so popular and goofy, but our guess is that it dates back―at the very least―to the popularity of chickens and chicken breeding in the mid-to-late 1800’s, into the early 1900’s. It was during that time when the poultry industry struggled to move from backyard coops to full commercial enterprises raising large quantities of chickens-long before the use of poultry testing labels!
It was a time when hen and pullet production had become a hazardous business in regards to poultry health…the main culprit being “Pullorum disease,” a bacterial infection of poultry transmitted from a hen to her chicks via the eggs. Stock losses were way too large and so, in order to eliminate the disease, programs were implemented by many states to regulate and inspect larger flocks. To coordinate all that work, the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) was started in the early 1930s by the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) and joint administration was established between APHIS (the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) and the state agencies to enforce it.
One of our customers works closely with their commercial poultry industry to keep it healthy for consumers and chicks alike! It’s particularly interesting to realize that events around the Depression and World War II actually led to a boom in the broiler industry (ultimately replacing cotton as their main farm income producer) and that continues today.
Thanks to a set of labs set up around their state, our customer provides services such as disease monitoring and testing, chick quality assurance, and hatchery inspections. Not only do they test chickens but all types of fowl including turkeys, ducks, pigeons and other game birds. Beyond Pullorum, they watch for fowl cholera (often spread by rodents and cats), salmonella (spread by work boots, nest boxes and dust), and chick anemia virus…to name just a few ailments.
According to Purdue University, 50 Billion (yes, Billion – with a ‘B’!) eggs are produced each YEAR in the US! From that, 8 Billion chickens are also consumed each year!
Now, as you can imagine, large poultry production requires a lot of work for our customer to monitor, test, and inspect chickens and eggs. This also means there is A LOT of paperwork and accompanying test specimens―all which need to be labeled and organized, so they can be easily tracked with the least amount of human error. Their special poultry lab system has integrated the use of thousands and thousands of our White Plastic labels with a cold temperature adhesive, numerous Thermal Transfer Desktop Printers, as well as many 1-and-2D Imaging Scanners to facilitate their process in a safe, reliable, and convenient manner!
So the next time you scramble your egg or decorate one for Easter – think about all the work going on behind the scenes to make sure you have safe, healthy poultry products to eat. Of course, it won’t hurt to crack a “yolk”, once in a while either!