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4 Hearty Bites of A Nutritious Egg
1. Organic or Omega-3? Cage-Free or Free-Range? The labels are confusing. The Humane Society of the U.S. spells it out for us in this guide. Basically, egg carton labels boil down (no pun intended) to 3 basic things.
2. The health of the hen. This is directly related to the health of the eggs. Consider what effects there are of a woman's health on that of her reproductive system. Stress can cause missed periods, food can affect fertility, and a variety of circumstances can affect libido. We are not entirely different from many of the animals in this regard. The best labels for selecting eggs laid by a healthier hen: Certified Humane (typically, these are organic as well) and Animal Welfare Approved (though rare to find in supermarkets).
3. The living quarters. The difference between cage-free and free-range is very slight. Cage-free implies that the hens are uncaged, but remain indoors - likely never breathing fresh air or basking in direct, unfiltered sunlight. Free-range hens are essentially cage-free with the exception of "never". They are required to have some degree of outdoor access, but this is far from a guaranteed source of "pastured" hen eggs.
4. The feed. Hens were meant to peck at insects, plants & roots, worms and seeds. In an industrial henhouse, it's extremely likely that they are feeding on nothing but the same corn-and-soybean diet of all industrial farm animals in America. Because corn and soy are cheap and easy to grow, and have been genetically modified to handle a lot of pesticides. However, even organic hens are commonly fed "organic" corn-and-soybean feed, which may be organic but remains an unnatural diet. I know we've all seen Disney's Cinderella, in which the soon-to-be-Princess feeds her hens some corn kernels. It's a supplemental treat, but by no means their main source of nutrition or calories. (Plus, it's fiction.)
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Egg Carton Label Guide by The Humane Society of the U.S.
Meet Real Free-Range Eggs
- ▼ February (7)