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Indian processor sells "vegetarian" eggs

A "100% vegetarian egg" will be launched in 2008 by India's leading egg powder manufacturer and exporter.

S Hariharan, general manager, operations of SKM Egg Products Ltd, commented that the 100% vegetarian eggs will be launched both in the domestic market and exported abroad in the next few months.

The company already exports 100% vegetarian egg powder, egg yolk powder and egg albumen powder to as many as 27 countries in the world, including Europe and Japan.

Special feed
A vegetarian egg is produced by chicken that receive feed that contains no animal products. Normally feed is supplemented with fish meal, so eggs from chicken fed this type of feed are not fully vegetarian.

SKM Egg Products claims all their layers on its contract farms are not fed any "animal-based feed". Instead of fishmeal, soy meal is added to the feed as the protein supplement. "Hence, eggs produced on our contract farms are fully vegetarian," asserts Hariharan.

But this company did not hit upon the vegetarian egg concept for the world's vegetarians. It was for commercial reasons to meet the strict stipulations of the export market.

Recently, SKM, which exported 4,500 tonnes of egg powder last year, set up its own poultry farm with nearly 1.5 million chicks. As of now, the company largely sources the "vegetarian eggs" from nearby Namakkal, which is southern India's egg country. With over 700 poultry farms, Namakkal produces 22.5 million eggs every day, which is 14% of the country's egg production.

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