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Taco Bell hustles to get cage-free eggs on their menu

Justina Huddleston is an editor and the head writer for TDmonthly Magazine. She has been a freelance writer for several years, though her real passion is cooking. You can see the recipes she creates on her vegan food blog, A Life of Litt...

This fast-food switch to cage-free eggs sure is happening quickly

Taco Bell has pledged to go cage-free, and it's trying to do so in record time.

The company announced that it'll be sourcing cage-free eggs for all 6,000-plus of its U.S. restaurants by Dec. 31, 2016, so you can feel a little less guilty about chowing down on that a.m. Crunchwrap on your way to work.

This is a much faster turnaround than at McDonald's, which has pledged to go cage-free in the next 10 years, and Starbucks and Panera Bread, which are working to use only cage-free eggs by 2020.

More: McDonald's is switching to cage-free eggs, but it's going to take 10 years

This is probably because even though there are Taco Bells seemingly everywhere, McDonald's has more than 16,000 restaurants that use a total of 2 billion eggs a year, meaning that for them to use only cage-free eggs, farmers themselves are having to make the switch to raising cage-free hens. There currently is more demand for cage-free product from McDonald's than there is supply.

More: Starbucks jumps on the cage-free egg bandwagon, pledges to switch by 2020

But Taco Bell says it can make the switch in just a year, improving the lives of 500,000 hens while doing so. It also confirmed that by early 2016, it'll be eliminating artificial colors and flavors, trans fat, high fructose corn syrup and unsustainable palm oil from its "core menu" items.

It's really great to see so many major chain restaurants making this sort of change and heartwarming to know it's something customers are demanding. It's one thing to buy cage-free eggs for your breakfast once in a while or to go to that hip diner down the street that uses only eggs laid by its neighbor's chickens. But when huge companies like Taco Bell make the switch to cage-free eggs, they're literally changing the way the egg industry operates.

Then again, this is the innovative company that created the Doritos Locos taco — clearly it knows what the American people want, and this time we're trading Nacho cheese powder for humanely sourced eggs.

More: Panera is making the switch to cage-free eggs

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