I am not sure why I have never noticed this before, or maybe I have, and just did not pay attention to it. I always just grab the cheapest carton of eggs, I never thought about why some are cheaper than others, I figured it was simply a brand name issue. Eggs are eggs, what could possibly differentiate them?
My most recent trip to the grocery store I stood in front of the egg cooler for about five minutes ackowledging the different types of eggs. I stood there trying to differentiate between the different labels. I noticed the eggs I buy for 89 cents a carton had no special label on them, compared to the expensive $3.99 carton of eggs with a label. To be completely honest, they all sounded the same to me, “Cage Free”, “Free Range”, “Pasture Raised”, “Vegetarian Fed”, so why were some still more expensive than others. Little did I know that those labels all mean something very different and are important to know. You may think Cage free eggs are great because the hens are allowed to run free and have space to move, not being stuck in a small cage? Wrong.
The term Cage Free may mean the hens aren’t in cages but instead are in a warehouse with hundreds of other hens, standing in their own muck and barely being able to move, they might as well be in a cage then, right?
The term Free Range simply means the chickens have access to the outside. The access may be a little screened in part of the warehouses with a tiny door, where majority of the chickens cannot even access since there are so many, or they do not know about it. There are no specifications regarding the quality or duration of the outdoor exposure, leading to most chickens never being exposed.
The term Vegetarian Fed, you may think the hens are fed healthy grains and vegetables, but why would they be fed a vegetarian diet when they are carnivores and inately eat insects and bugs. When hens are on a vegetarian diet they most likely are given industrialized feed containing GMOs and are never exposed to the outside.
So what should you look for on your egg cartons to ensure that you are consuming the best quality egg? Pasture Raised. The term Pasture Raised is used by suistainable farmers whom truly take the time to care for their hens to improve their quality of life. This term has no official regulations, but at the moment is only used by a small percentage of farmers. Pasture raised means exactly what it says, the hens are free to roam in a pasture leading to a stress free life. When the hens are happy, they produce healthy, nutritious eggs. It’s beneficial for the hens and beneficial for us. The price for pasture raised eggs are definitely steeper than those not, but you’re also paying for better quality and supporting a better life for the hens.
For more information about where your eggs come from you can visit http://www.livinghomegrown.
com/decoding-the-terms-cage- free-free-range-pasture- raised-eggs/