A Shell of an Idea

Aug. 4, 2005 6:05 p.m.

Did you know 81 BILLION eggs are produced and distributed in the U.S. every year?

Fifty-five billion wind up on store shelves (the bulk of the rest are used by food manufacturers).

Here's some of what else I learned while working on an exclusive story that will debut Friday on "Your World with Neil Cavuto":

Ninety-nine percent of eggs are never touched by humans.

White eggs come from white chickens. Brown eggs come from hens with brown or red feathers. Really.

Chickens lay on average of one egg every day, six per week (even chickens need a day off). The chickens do NOT have to get cozy with a rooster to produce their daily egg.

Online egg farms process the eggs themselves. Offline farms send their eggs to production facilities like the one I visited.

Before eggs are shipped off to retailers, they're washed in a machine in warm soapy water, and scrubbed with the equivalent of toothbrushes to clean off the feathers and chicken manure. Then they're dried and inspected for broken or cracked shells. You check the insides of eggs by running them on a belt over a light source (called "candling"). Then they're separated by weight and put in cartons with other eggs their size (small, medium, large, jumbo).

Finally, here's a hint related to Friday's story:

It only takes 39 milliseconds to laser etch an imprint on an eggshell. That's a dozen eggs in 2 seconds, or two cases of eggs every minute.

E-mail Rick!


Just a thank you for your excellent reporting! But I have to ask this: from airline crash to eggshells? What will FOX do with you next?

Keep up the great work!

Red Bluff, CA

This is the first time that I saw you substituting on John Gibson's "Big Story" — great job. You write very well. Very talented.

An Avid FOX News Fan,

— Don

You were terrific as the host today! You had enthusiasm and wonderful rapport with your guests. This was the first time we have seen you host a show. You were a success! Keep doing such good work!

— Jim and Judy


You put flutters in my stomach and tears in my eyes with your short, but very descriptive words of the Discovery liftoff. Thank you for taking me back to when I was young. I was right there with you and I miss the excitement we used to feel with the countdown and liftoff.

— Leslie in Austin, Texas

Hey Rick,

Chills and bumps. Heart flutters and big smiles. That was awesome! Great coverage!. Did it make you wish you had been an astronaut instead of a news reporter? Glad everything went well for you all and thanks for the blog this morning ... always interesting and informative. Now we can worry about getting them, and you, back down.

— Fans in Rockbridge Baths, Va.

We enjoy your work and commentary. Thank you for all your efforts and keep your feet clean, OK?

— Mary Kay


I also had my bare feet wanded, but I had set off the scanner. I have a pin in my foot and the TSA guy went crazy trying to figure out why his detector kept going off. He used two devices! When I told him that I had metal in my foot, he brought over his fellow TSA types to show them. It was funny!! So I guess there could be some method to their madness.

— Mike Jude


I once saw a airport screener wand some Boy Scouts who were in uniform with their badges. After that came a ancient old lady barely walking, and he wanded her. When it was my turn I told the man if we have to wand Boy Scouts and little old ladies we have lost already.

— Eric