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]

Necco Wafers and Sweethearts Are Making a Comeback—Whether You Like It or Not

Via Tsuji via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Via Tsuji via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

This past Valentine’s Day was a little less sweet without Sweethearts conversation hearts gracing store shelves, but there’s some good news on the horizon. According to CandyStore.com, Necco-brand candies are coming back—well, some of them, at least.

The future of classic candies like Sweethearts conversation hearts, Necco Wafers, Clark Bars, Mary Janes, and Sky Bars has been uncertain ever since the New England Confectionery Company went out of business last year. People sent online retailer CandyStore.com thousands of emails asking what would become of their favorite confections, so the website’s staff painstakingly “tracked down the fate of all the Necco candy brands,” according to a blog post.

Spangler Candy Company, which acquired a couple of the Necco brands, appears to be keeping its promise of bringing back Necco Wafers, Sweethearts, and Canada Mints. However, the new owner is still testing recipes, and the time frame for their return remains undetermined.

“We are committed to making sure these brands meet consumer expectations when they reenter the market," Spangler CEO Kirk Vashaw told the candy website. "Doing it right takes time."

Only one of the original Necco brands, Candy Buttons, is currently available for purchase under new ownership. There is also a good chance that several other candies—including Clark Bars, Sky Bars, Mighty Malts, Haviland Thin Mints, Slap Stix, and various flavored chews—will be returning in the future. The rights to many of these brands were bought by different companies, some of which are now experimenting with production methods. For instance, the CEO of the Boyer Candy Company, which now owns Clark Bars, said recent attempts to produce the candy have resulted in Clark Bars “coming out in the shape of hot dogs,” which is not ideal. (Though they reportedly “taste fantastic.”)

As for Mary Janes and Squirrel Nut Zippers: those candies remain in greater peril. The Mary Jane brand is still for sale, and there’s some confusion about who owns the Zippers trademark. The latter can still be bought from CandyStore.com, but sadly, Mary Janes have become nearly impossible to find. “Panic buyers of Mary Janes are really glad they did,” the website states. “Their secret stash is the best place to find them.”

For more details about the future of your favorite Necco candies, check out CandyStore.com’s blog post. In the meantime, you can still find some of the discontinued candies on Amazon and other online retailers, albeit for very high prices.

Henri, an Adorable Bulldog from North Carolina, Is Named Cadbury's Newest Easter 'Bunny'

iStock.com/freddiesfabdesign
iStock.com/freddiesfabdesign

Bunnies are cute and all, but they've got nothing on Henri: an 18-month-old English bulldog with lots of rolls and lots of love to give. As WDSU News in New Orleans reports, Henri has won the honor of starring in Cadbury's new "Clucking Bunny" commercial in the lead-up to Easter, right as the chocolate creme eggs start to make their annual reappearance.

A bulldog in bunny ears
The Hershey Company

He was selected from a pool of more than 4000 pets that sported bunny ears and posed for pictures as part of Cadbury's first-ever "Bunny Tryouts." His owners, Kathie and Tim Santillo, of Wilmington, North Carolina, dressed him in an adorable Easter bunny costume that included an oversized pink bow and fluffy white tail. In addition to the fame and Instagram follower boost that Henri is likely to get out of this contest, his owners will also receive $5000—and some of that money will presumably go towards toys for this very good boy.

"When people see the iconic Cadbury Clucking Bunny commercial, they know Easter season is here," Katrina Vatter, a member of the Cadbury U.S. marketing team, said in a statement. "For the first time in over 35 years, we are honored to expand our tradition and welcome Henri as a new character to the commercial."

Cadbury also announced the names of the 19 pets who qualified as semi-finalists. They were mostly cats and dogs, but there was also a goat, a horse, a bearded dragon, and a llama named Conswala, who donned rainbow-colored bunny ears. Naturally, an actual bunny also made it to the final round. Check out some of the semi-finalists' photos below.

Perhaps it's for the best that a dog—and not a cat—was chosen. In the film industry at least, cats are a little more challenging to have on set because they're sensitive to the noises around them. "I think of cats as walking and living satellites," Dawn Barkan, who has trained animals for movies like Meet the Parents and Inside Llewyn Davis, told Mental Floss in 2014.

"Their ears are picking up every sound, and their bodies are picking up all the vibrations around them, so they're constantly tuning in to everything that's going on around them, and they're sensitive. So if there are loud noises or a lot of commotion, and the cat hasn't been desensitized to that, they're going not going to be comfortable, whereas dogs are a little bit more easygoing."

[h/t WDSU News]

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