Berlin Introduces World's First 'No-Kill' Egg

iStock.com/FatCamera
iStock.com/FatCamera

The chicken and egg selections in your local supermarket are very much a matriarchy. Male chicks do not lay eggs and don’t pack on enough meat to make them attractive to raise for consumption. As a result, they’re typically destroyed in ways that would make anyone cringe—the chicks are often either suffocated with gas or sent into a mulcher to become feed.

That could soon change, thanks to an innovation spearheaded by German scientists. A new, “no-kill” egg is now on sale in Berlin, and it may hold the potential to end the practice of discarding male chicks by identifying their sex before hatching.

According to The Guardian, a patented process dubbed “SELEGGT” can pinpoint the sex of a chick just nine days after an egg has been fertilized. Female eggs go on to hatch; male eggs are processed for animal feed. The process would eliminate the live culling of male chicks after hatching.

SELEGGT was championed by the REWE Group, a retail franchise that was looking to increase the sustainability of its eggs. REWE consulted with the University of Leipzig, where scientists developed a method of detection similar to a pregnancy test. A chemical marker detects a hormone known as estrone sulfate that’s present in high quantities in female eggs. Fluid taken from the egg is mixed with the marker and offers a color-coded identification of the sex—blue for female, white for male. The accuracy rate is said to be 98.5 percent.

REWE then sought out a way to perform the test at a speed suitable for mass production. Instead of using a needle, a laser creates a 0.3 millimeter hole in the shell, with air pressure forcing a tiny amount of fluid from the opening. An egg can be sampled in just one second without being touched.

The first grouping of hens that were reared without having to kill any hatched male chicks appeared earlier this year. Their eggs, sold under the label “Respeggt,” went on sale in November, with plans to expand throughout Europe. According to REWE, the process adds only a few cents to the cost of a carton.

Other companies have made similar advancements: Vital Farms in Austin is working on identifying gases leaking through egg pores that can determine sex in just two days—but SELEGGT is the first to come to market. As one or more of these strategies are implemented throughout the poultry industry, it’s hoped that the practice of male chick culling will be eliminated.

[h/t The Guardian]

11 Unusual Cutting and Cheese Boards

Fred & Friends, Amazon
Fred & Friends, Amazon

Planning a wine and cheese party? Make sure what you're using to serve snacks is just as cute as your food is delicious.

1. Mouse Trap; $21

A cheese board shaped like a mouse trap

Fred & Friends, Amazon

At first glance, this item just looks like an oversized mouse trap. Ingeniously, the snapping part of the trap can be removed to reveal it's actually a cheese slicer. A chunk of cheese can be displayed and sliced on the 9-inch-long board—just don't invite any mice to the party.

Find it: Amazon

2. MOUSE BOARD; $30

A board shaped like a mouse hole with a mouse-shaped cheese cutter on top

Fred & Friends, Amazon

If a mouse trap is a little too macabre for your shindig, consider this adorable alternative. Assemble your cheeses on the 8-inch-long board and slice them up with a mouse-shaped knife that can be stored in the Tom and Jerry-esque mouse hole at the bottom.

Find it: Amazon

3. STATE SLATE; $20

Cheese and crackers arrayed on a slate cheese board

Bison Hill Stonecrafts, Amazon

Celebrate cheese from all over the United States with this patriotic slate. You can even grab a piece of chalk and write down the names of all the cheeses for hungry guests. Creator Bison Hill Stonecrafts will even personalize your board with a laser engraving, if you'd like.

Find it: Amazon

4. Log and Axe; $25

A cheese board shaped like a cut tree trunk

Fred & Friends, Amazon

Give your cheese a rustic presentation with this log and axe set-up. The solid beech cutting board is shaped like a log and comes with an axe-shaped knife to help you bring out your inner lumberjack.

Find it: Amazon

5. Mariner Wheel; $35

Invite all your sailor friends over for snacks with this nautical cheese board. When each of the four differently-shaped knives are placed into their respective holes in the board, the board looks like a ship's wheel.

Find it: UncommonGoods

6. Cheese Degrees; $20

A cutting board with a protractor design

Fred & Friends, Amazon

Make sure everyone gets an even amount of cheese with this obsessively precise cutting board. Whether you want perfect cubes or exactly portioned triangles, this cheese board can help ensure that everything is perfectly sliced.

Find it: Amazon

7. The States; $28

A cheese board in the shape of New York state

Amy Stringer-Mowat and Bill Mowat, UncommonGoods

Celebrate your home state with a bamboo cutting board created by New York-based woodworkers Amy Stringer-Mowat and Bill Mowat. You can see all the available state shapes in this PDF.

Find it: UncommonGoods

8. Voodoo Doll; $20

Pull out this voodoo doll-shaped board when you're feeling a little vindictive. You can hack away at meats and cheese and then store the knife appropriately in the wooden doll's back.

Find it: Overstock.com

9. Ampersand; $48

Delight your guests with some knowledge about where the ampersand comes from while using this board, which lets you fill a twisting line of crackers around three different cheeses.

Find it: UncommonGoods

10. Say Cheese; $19

A cheese board shaped like a smiling mouth

Fred & Friends, Amazon

Smile! It's cheese time. This mouth-shaped cheese board looks just as happy about the selection as you do. Underneath all the food, the board says "say cheese" in the center.

Find it: Amazon

11. The Obsessive Chef; $27

A cutting board with measurements on it

Fred & Friends, Amazon

This product comes with a series of lines to guide the cutter, including how to medium dice, small dice, brunoise, fine brunoise, batonnet, allumette, julienne, and fine julienne. The lines are burnished instead of printed, so they'll never get worn away.

Find it: Amazon or at one of the retailers below:

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

A version of this article first ran in 2017. It has been updated to reflect current availability.

A Massive Beef Recall Due to E. Coli Might Affect Your Memorial Day Meal Plans

iStock/Kameleon007
iStock/Kameleon007

If your Memorial Day weekend plans involve grilling meat, you're going to want to take some extra precautions. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday that 62,112 pounds of raw beef are being recalled due to possible contamination with E. coli bacteria, which causes food poisoning.

The meat originated with the Aurora Packing Company of North Aurora, Illinois on April 19. Aurora Packing is recalling the products, which have an EST. 788 number on the USDA mark of inspection found on packaging and were shipped to stores around the country. The meat was packaged in multiple cuts, including ribeye and briskets.

Escherichia coli, better known as E. coli, is bacteria that affects the gastrointestinal system, causing cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, and other serious symptoms that can derail one's celebratory mood. If you think you've purchased any of the contaminated meat, it's recommended that you immediately discard it.

[h/t USA Today]

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