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Japan's chicken farmers are producing eggs with white yolks

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Japanese hens are being fed a rice-heavy diet which is turning their yolks white. (iStock)

In the U.S., eggs with deep colored yolks are prized for their flavor and bright hue.

But in Japan, eggs with whitish interiors are gaining notoriety, reports Japan Times.

The eggs, which are laid by rice-fed hens, owe their unusual color to the diet of the chickens. Eggs with yellow yolks usually get their color from chicken feed that’s made up mostly imported corn.  

According to the Japan Times, the government is responding to declining domestic demand for rice by encouraging production of rice as feed for livestock in order to maintain paddies. The agriculture ministry has set an aggressive production target of 1.1 million tons of rice by 2025, up from 110,000 tons produced in 2013.

The eggs are known as Kometsuya—a combination of Japanese words “kome” (rice) and “tsuya” (luster). Several chicken farms have already started transitioning their birds to feed that is mostly produced locally.

Egg sales from January to July have risen 13 percent compared to the same period in 2014. A carton of six costs about 432 Yen or $3.60.

Local purveyors are reportedly pleased with the climbing sales of Kometsuya --as it discourages reliance on external food sources and promotes domestic agriculture.

“In the not-too-distant future, white sunny-side ups will be part of the daily cuisine for Japanese,” an official for Hokkaido Dosanko Plaza shop told Japan Times.