Ever wondered what an egg is classified as? I know I have!
Like, is an egg an animal?
Or, is an egg considered meat?
In this post, I'm going to explain what eggs are classified as, why eggs are not animals and reveal some other interesting egg-related facts!
Is an Egg an Animal?
The answer is no, an egg is not classified as an animal.
In fact, eggs are classified as poultry products by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Poultry is defined as "any domesticated bird used or intended for use as food." This includes chicken, ducks, geese, quail, etc.
So, since eggs come from poultry, they are not considered animals.
It's not that crazy of a question. I've also seen it asked online if eggs are plants or fruits, too!
While on the topic, I can also confirm that eggs are not plants, and eggs certainly are not fruits.
If a chick hatches from an egg, then that chick is an animal. Chickens are birds, but birds are also classified as animals.
Is an Egg a Vegetable or Meat?
I was discussing this article topic with a friend, and he asked me if eggs are classified as vegetables.
Apparently, he thought this might be the case as eggs are used in salads - but it's a bit of a wild question, eggs are definitely not vegetables!
However, eggs can be classified as meat (sometimes).
It appears that some governing bodies and people disagree with this, while others are happy to refer to eggs as being 'like meat'.
The FDA defines meat as "the edible tissue of animals."
So, by this definition - as eggs are the edible tissue of poultry - they could technically be classed as meat.
However, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not consider eggs to be meat.
The USDA defines "meat" as "the edible flesh of animals."
So, this is where the debate lies. Are eggs the edible flesh of animals?
The answer may depend on your definition!
Related - Are white eggs bleached to become white?
What Is an Egg Classified As?
Officially, eggs are classified as poultry products by the FDA.
This means that they are not considered to be animals, but they are also not vegetables or fruits.
However, some people do consider eggs to be meat - although the USDA does not agree with this.
At the end of the day, it's up to you what you consider an egg to be!
Do We Eat Fertilized Eggs?
Hens lay eggs whether they are fertilized or not.
Fertilized eggs have to have been fertilized by a rooster mating with a hen, so it's not something that happens within large-scale egg farming operations.
The FDA actually requires that all eggs sold in the US must be from hens that were never in contact with a rooster.
This isn't the same in other countries, however, and it's possible to buy eggs from farmers' markets where the laying hens live with roosters, I'm sure.
However, no one wants to think that the eggs on their kitchen side or in their refrigerator have embryos developing inside.
I can put your mind at ease by telling you that it's very unlikely that an egg will start to develop a chick as it will need to be incubated at a specific temperature.
It's not something to worry about accidentally happening, and there is no difference between eating fertilized or unfertilized eggs.
Do Vegans Eat Eggs?
This is a common question, and the answer is no, vegans do not eat eggs.
Vegans are against the consumption of any animal products - so since eggs are poultry products, they are off the menu for vegans.
However, veganism is complicated and there are some vegans who do eat eggs.
While this might sound like a contradiction in terms, vegans who eat eggs call themselves 'veggans' or are ovo-vegetarians.
Related - More on why some vegans eat eggs from backyard chickens.
Why Do Some Vegans Eat Eggs?
The main reason that some vegans eat eggs is that eggs are rich in protein and some of the other key nutritional benefits vegans find hard to get from a strict vegan diet.
Some vegans also believe that it is not morally wrong to eat eggs as long as the chickens are treated well and are not hurt in the process.
These vegans argue that if the chickens are happy and healthy, then there is no harm in eating their eggs.
So, there you have it! Everything you need to know about what eggs are classified as and confirmation that eggs are not animals.
At least, not until a chick hatches!
I hope this has cleared up any confusion and that you now have a better understanding of the topic!
Image credits - Photo by anzhar pratama on Unsplash