What types of eggs should you buy? Let’s clear up that “farm fresh” label.
You’ve been there before. You are in the dairy aisle, facing 20 different options for eggs. The aisle is cold, so all you want to do is move your cart along so that you can begin feeling your toes again. So, you compare prices (quickly), choose a brand that’s recognizable, and maybe you choose a carton that says “farm fresh.”
In this post, I’m going to talk about what all of those labels mean on your eggs.
What do all those labels mean on your eggs?
Eggs labeled: Organic
This is the most useful label. Why? Because it is one of the most highly regulated labels you can find on an egg carton. You know exactly what you are getting when you buy organic eggs. This means that laying hens were:
• given organic feed
• access to outdoors
• not housed in cages
Eggs labeled: Free Range
This means that the hens who laid those eggs were housed in a building/area with unrestricted access to food, water, and continuous ability to go outdoors (and the outdoor area can be fenced off).
Eggs labeled: Cage-Free
This means that the hens who laid those eggs were housed in a building/area with unrestricted access to food, water, and continuous ability roam about (within that building). This does not always mean that the hens have access to the outdoors.
Eggs labeled: Vegetarian Fed
This means that the feed that the laying hens were given don’t have animal byproducts in them. However, if you know anything about chickens, you know that they naturally love to eat grubs, worms and insects (is that vegetarian?).
Eggs labeled: No Added Antibiotics
This means that antibiotics were not added to the laying hen’s feed, water, or through injections. It’s also clue about the type of environment that the chickens are living in. If the hens are in crowded conditions, farmers tend to administer antibiotics to those hens so that infection doesn’t spread quickly. So, if there weren’t antibiotics administered, it’s more likely that the hens were living in less crowded conditions.
Eggs labeled: Brown Eggs
This just indicates the breed of laying hen that the egg is from. And, did you know that some hens lay lots of different colors? Americauna hens can lay blue, green, and even PINK eggs!
Eggs labeled: Local
This could mean a couple of things:
• It could mean that the eggs must be from hens that are living less than 400 miles from the facility in which they were processed (meaning, where the eggs go to be cleaned and put in a carton.
• Or, it could mean that the eggs came from hens living in your state, and that the eggs were processed in your state.
Eggs labeled: Omega-3
This is an unclear term. Here are the possibilities of what this could mean:
• It could mean that the laying hens were given feed that included an omega-3 supplement or fortified with omega-3.
• It could also mean that laying hens were given feed that included foods that are naturally higher in omega-3s, like flax seeds.
Eggs labeled: No Hormones
This means that hormones weren’t administered to the hens. However, that’s not allowed in US farming practices anyway, so even if it doesn’t have that label you shouldn’t have to worry about it.
Eggs labeled: Farm Fresh
Doesn’t really mean anything. Sorry!
So, what types of eggs should you buy?
If I’m at the store, I tend to choose eggs that either are labeled organic or free range on the carton. However, when I can we buy eggs from the farmer’s market or from friends who own their own chickens. That’s because I like to eat sustainable food and I like flavorful eggs.
In fact, we’ve loved eggs like this so much that we preparing to get some of our own chickens! More on that later…
What kind of eggs do you buy?
I used the following source to get most of my definitions today: USDA Grademarked Product Label Submission Checklist
© 2017 Caitlin W Howe, LLC
Manners matter here! Not sure whether your comment is irrelevant, impolite, or disrespectful? Read my commenting rules Commenting Rules
The postings on this site are my own (unless otherwise stated) and don't necessarily represent any other organization's positions, strategies or opinions. Thanks!