Artifical Food colouring in Egg Yolks

Morning Glory

Obsessive cook
Staff member
Joined
19 Apr 2015
Local time
9:16 AM
Messages
44,310
Location
Maidstone, Kent, UK
Mod Edit:

This thread has been copied and edited from a recipe thread that went off topic and into a rather interesting discussion regarding the colouring of egg yolks and whether corn fed hens naturally produced much yellower yolks or if it was a food colouring in the hens' diet.

It stemmed from this photograph of the final plated food.

IMGP1431.jpg


Please feel free to continue with the discussion regarding hens' egg yolk colouring below.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Morning Glory

Obsessive cook
Staff member
Joined
19 Apr 2015
Local time
9:16 AM
Messages
44,310
Location
Maidstone, Kent, UK
Are your eggs soft boiled? They look very orange to me on my tablet. Or is it the absorption of the turmeric and sugar (why sugar?) does it affect the whites, as in colouring them.
They actually are this orange (nothing to do with turmeric). They can compete with @Yorky's eggs any day! They are Black Farmer eggs from Ocado. Not available anywhere else to my knowledge. I'm completely addicted to them and find myself shopping with Ocado just 'cos I need eggs. Tomorrow I'll post a photo of a raw Black Farmer egg next to an ordinary free range one. You will see...

@epicuric commented that he couldn't get eggs with yolks like @Yorky 's in the UK. Well... you can!
 

Morning Glory

Obsessive cook
Staff member
Joined
19 Apr 2015
Local time
9:16 AM
Messages
44,310
Location
Maidstone, Kent, UK
The eggs are not very hard boiled. About 8 minutes. Believe me, they are this orange.:dance: I love them. I think the chickens are corn fed but I don't know for sure. Re the sugar; it may not be necessary. I was trying to find a way of 'curing' the eggs without vinegar. I think the sugar has a subtle sweet taste but try it without! I'm always experimenting...

The longer you steep the eggs in the turmeric, the more the yellow will penetrate the egg whites. It can look very pretty.
 

epicuric

Legendary Member
Joined
12 Mar 2016
Local time
9:16 AM
Messages
4,560
Location
Shropshire, UK
The eggs are not very hard boiled. About 8 minutes. Believe me, they are this orange.:dance: I love them. I think the chickens are corn fed but I don't know for sure. Re the sugar; it may not be necessary. I was trying to find a way of 'curing' the eggs without vinegar. I think the sugar has a subtle sweet taste but try it without! I'm always experimenting...

The longer you steep the eggs in the turmeric, the more the yellow will penetrate the egg whites. It can look very pretty.
No, corn fed chickens would produce pale yoked eggs. They are more likely pasture fed - the carotinoids that cause the yolks to be darker coloured are derived from plants.
 

Morning Glory

Obsessive cook
Staff member
Joined
19 Apr 2015
Local time
9:16 AM
Messages
44,310
Location
Maidstone, Kent, UK
No, corn fed chickens would produce pale yoked eggs. They are more likely pasture fed - the carotinoids that cause the yolks to be darker coloured are derived from plants.
I'm beginning to suspect these chickens have dye added to their feed. The yolks are super yellow compared to the best free-range including Cotswold Legbar from Waitrose (which come closest). I can only urge you to try them to see what I mean. I don't know why supermarkets don't stock them as I'm sure they would fly off the shelves (and supermarkets do stock other Black Farmer products).

And now I'm advertising Ocado which is not a supermarket (strictly speaking)!
 

epicuric

Legendary Member
Joined
12 Mar 2016
Local time
9:16 AM
Messages
4,560
Location
Shropshire, UK
I'm beginning to suspect these chickens have dye added to their feed. The yolks are super yellow compared to the best free-range including Cotswold Legbar from Waitrose (which come closest). I can only urge you to try them to see what I mean. I don't know why supermarkets don't stock them as I'm sure they would fly off the shelves (and supermarkets do stock other Black Farmer products).

And now I'm advertising Ocado which is not a supermarket (strictly speaking)!
By using pigmented feed containing artificial coloring additives (E160/E161) it is possible to produce yolks to any desired colour on the (now called) DSM scale. Most of the additives are fairly benign, plant sourced carotenoids although E161g is a bit suspect, having been banned from use in self tanning products because of links to retinal damage. Lion Mark designated eggs will not contain this, but others might. Iceland incidentally, refuse to stock eggs from chickens fed with artificial additives.

You can tell quite easily if artificial colourants have been used - the egg yolks will be consistently the same colour. Eggs from naturally roaming birds will produce yolks that vary in colour, even within a specific range on the DSM scale.

I'm not sure that Ocado would be amenable to delivering just half a dozen eggs! I don't even know anyone that uses them - their vans are a pretty rare sight in this part of the world.
 

Morning Glory

Obsessive cook
Staff member
Joined
19 Apr 2015
Local time
9:16 AM
Messages
44,310
Location
Maidstone, Kent, UK
By using pigmented feed containing artificial coloring additives (E160/E161) it is possible to produce yolks to any desired colour on the (now called) DSM scale. Most of the additives are fairly benign, plant sourced carotenoids although E161g is a bit suspect, having been banned from use in self tanning products because of links to retinal damage. Lion Mark designated eggs will not contain this, but others might. Iceland incidentally, refuse to stock eggs from chickens fed with artificial additives.

You can tell quite easily if artificial colourants have been used - the egg yolks will be consistently the same colour. Eggs from naturally roaming birds will produce yolks that vary in colour, even within a specific range on the DSM scale.

I'm not sure that Ocado would be amenable to delivering just half a dozen eggs! I don't even know anyone that uses them - their vans are a pretty rare sight in this part of the world.
Minimum order is £40 I think. But take a peek at the website - you may be tempted as there are some great products which you can't get elsewhere: fresh tamarind in the pods, for example and fresh turmeric. They do great 'heirloom' tomatoes too. I shop there every other week or so and order three packs of the eggs! They do have lions on them... They also deliver kitchen ware in the same order which can make up the bill to £40. I recently bought a beautiful Denby plate from them which will feature in an up and coming recipe for Burrata (cheese) which they also sell. They stock all of the Waitrose products too.

I just checked... you are right, they don't deliver your area yet.:meh:
 

Morning Glory

Obsessive cook
Staff member
Joined
19 Apr 2015
Local time
9:16 AM
Messages
44,310
Location
Maidstone, Kent, UK
I'm now thinking that pigmented feed is added. They have the lion mark so are not containing E161g. But I've noticed that when they are hard-boiled, when I cut them through, the yolks stain the white. I think that wouldn't happen unless there was colour added to their feed.
 

Morning Glory

Obsessive cook
Staff member
Joined
19 Apr 2015
Local time
9:16 AM
Messages
44,310
Location
Maidstone, Kent, UK
Here for comparison is a large free range egg from Tesco's (which I consider to have quite good colour yolks) and a Black Farmer egg, side by side. The Black farmer eggs have much larger yolks and are markedly more orange. Below that is an egg from one of @SatNavSaysStraightOn's chickens.

IMGP1446.jpg
Above, Tesco free range on left, The Black Farmer on right


IMG_6349.JPG
Above, @SatNavSaysStraightOn's chicken's egg

Now I need a photo from @Yorky 's duck's eggs to compare.
 
Last edited:

SatNavSaysStraightOn

Site Owner
Staff member
Joined
11 Oct 2012
Local time
6:16 PM
Messages
14,855
Location
SE Australia
Website
www.satnavsaysstraighton.com
Ducks do lay different colour eggs to hens so you can't really do a direct comparison.

I'll get a closer photo of my hens eggs against a shop bought one here (the last one)... I'm not sure I corrected the white balance in the one above enough for any comparison.
 

Morning Glory

Obsessive cook
Staff member
Joined
19 Apr 2015
Local time
9:16 AM
Messages
44,310
Location
Maidstone, Kent, UK
See below my correspondence so far with Ocado, regarding the Black Farmer eggs:

Dear Morning Glory

Good afternoon, thank you for contacting Ocado. I hope that you are well and having a lovely day so far. Hopefully despite the weather this week you've been up to some exciting things!

I'm ever so sorry to hear you have a question about the background of some of our eggs we list on our website. I do hope we have caused you no inconvenience even though you said you weren't to fussed with this matter, I'd still like to know just like you do!

I have sent a question off to our Trading Team and Food Tech department just asking them for any more information with this matter as I personally unfortunately do not know and I'd hate to give out any wrong information :(

I shall be sure to be in touch with you as soon as I have any response with this matter.

I do apologise once again!

If you have any further queries please don't hesitate to contact us again as we're always more than happy to help.

I hope you have a wonderful day and enjoy the rest of your week!

Kind regards,

Holly Draper
Ocado Customer Service Team

Please include reference number ##16582241## in all email correspondence.

> Im a great fan of The Black Farmer eggs but I wonder if I could clarify whether colouring has been added to the chickens feed. This is perfectly legal and won't put me off using them - but I would like to know!
>
> Regards, Morning Glory
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom