IEC Paris 2010 Conference: Looking after the World

The key messages from the recent International Egg Commission Meeting were that eggs can feed the world and help to look after it with a low carbon footprint.
calendar icon 4 May 2010
clock icon 5 minute read

Egg industry leaders from around the globe met in Paris in April for the International Egg Commission (IEC) conference. More than 320 people attended the three-day conference, discussing the latest issues and legislation affecting the industry.

The theme of this IEC conference, the first of 2010, was 'The Next Decade', and one of the resounding messages, which many of the speakers referred to, was the rising global population, and the role that the egg industry can play in helping to meet the world food challenge.

The meeting was opened by IEC Chairman, Frank Pace

Meeting the World Food Challenge

Delegates attending April's IEC conference in Paris, learned that figures produced by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, show that the global population will increase by 2.5 billion people, to 9.1 billion by 2050. The Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that already, one billion people worldwide are underfed and undernourished; therefore the dilemma facing food producers in the future is: how can the world produce sufficient food to feed an additional 2.5 billion people, as well as the billion people who are already not getting enough to eat?

Tom Hebert, a government affairs specialist who works closely with the US Department of Agriculture, addressed the IEC conference on this issue. He told delegates that the solution to the world food challenge is eggs. He urged the industry to make its voice heard at a ministerial level, showing the nutritional value of eggs, their affordability and their low carbon footprint.

Low Carbon Footprint

Carbon footprint of the egg industry was another key topic at the IEC conference. Dr Imke de Boer, an associate professor at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, shared the findings of a recent study into the egg industry's carbon footprint.

Dr de Boer showed that of the four main egg production systems – cage, barn, free-range and organic – the cage system has the lowest carbon footprint. When calculating the carbon footprint, Dr de Boer's study factored in the entire life-cycle of egg production, taking into consideration the feed process, rearing of the pullets, transportation requirements, as well as the actual egg farm production methods.

IEC delegates heard that egg production has a lower carbon footprint than beef and pork production, and that within the egg industry, barn and free-range systems have the highest carbon footprint, and cage production has the lowest.

Eggs: Highly Nutritious and High-Quality Protein

During the conference, delegates also learned more about the exceptional health benefits of eggs from Dr Don McNamara. He explained that eggs are highly nutritious, and an excellent source of high quality protein, containing the essential vitamins and minerals required for a healthy diet. Dr McNamara discussed recent research studies, which show that eating eggs helps people to lose weight by making people feel fuller for longer, and that they also reduce the risk of breast cancer, age-related eye disease and muscle loss.

As well as being a highly nutritious food, packed with health benefits, eggs are one of the most affordable sources of protein. Dr Bernard Vallat, the Director General of the World Organisation for Animal Health, told delegates that by 2030, due to the rise in the global population and the increasing wealth of people in developing countries, there will be a 50 per cent increase in the global demand for animal protein products, such as eggs.

The IEC Paris 2010 conference, contained many very positive messages for the international egg industry, enabling delegates to learn about the latest industry issues, discuss best practice and forge valuable relationships. The IEC is the only organisation dedicated to representing the egg industry internationally. It brings together a vast geographical network of people, all with one common objective, to succeed in the same industry. IEC conferences are held twice a year; in September the conference will be held in Prague. Come and join the IEC and profit from a direct exchange of ideas with professional colleagues.

IEC meeting attendees at one of the sessions

Further Reading

- You can see a previosu report on the IEC Paris meeting by clicking here.

April 2010
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