KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A three-year study launched by the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply (CSES) has entered its second phase, during which the second of the two-flock study has been housed and will be studied throughout the hens’ laying cycle.

Researchers are analyzing results from the first flock, which was raised in three different housing types on the same farm. Researchers will present preliminary findings at the CSES 2012 Annual Meeting scheduled for October. The study will end in 2014, and final results will be presented in 2015. The commercial scale study aims to evaluate the sustainability impact of cage-free aviary housing, enriched colony housing and caged housing.

“Early observations from the research suggest that each system offers different benefits," said Charlie Arnot, CEO of the Center for Food Integrity, which is facilitating the CSES project. "Which housing system will best meet the needs of an individual producer, retailer, foodservice provider or consumer may depend on their priorities and preferences.

“The CSES research project will help fill the current information void and provide the data to support informed decisions that are ethically grounded, scientifically verified, economically viable and aligned with the interests of consumers,” he added.

CSES is a group of food companies, research institutions, non-governmental organizations, egg suppliers, food-service and food retail companies. According to its website, members of the CSES Leadership Committee include McDonald’s USA, Cargill Kitchen Solutions, Michigan State Univ., Univ. of California-Davis and the American Humane Association. Coalition advisors include the American Veterinary Medical Association and the US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. The Environmental Defense Fund is a non-member advisor.