Eggs are always at the top of my list when I hit the grocery store. We go through like 1-2 dozen a week! I know that when I’m looking at all of the cartons & labels, I’m thinking what the hell does this all mean? Which is the best option? Typically a carton of 12 eggs can go from $1.50-$5.00 depending on which you buy. I just wanted to decode all of these commonly used terms since I know it can be so confusing or MISLEADING!
- Brown Eggs: Does not change anything being brown or white. This only determines what kind of chicken laid the egg. No nutritional difference between the two.
- Cage-Free: This simply means that the chickens who laid the eggs were not confined to a cage. This can sometimes be misleading. Sometimes it just means that for portions of the chickens life they were not in cages, or they were not in cages, but still indoors. This is more of a general term. If you want to be SURE that the chickens who laid these eggs had complete outdoor access you are going to want to look for Certified Organic or Free-Range.
- Omega-3 Enhanced: This means that the chickens have had an omega-3 supplement added to their food. By doing this, the eggs that they lay can have 3-5 times the amount of awesome fatty acids! This is something you’ll definitely want to look for!
- Free-Range: This is a term regulated by the USDA, simply meaning that the chickens & hens were not caged & given unlimited access to the outdoors with access to food & fresh water at any time. This is a MUST!
- Antibiotic-Free: This is a tricky term. It’s hard to know what antibiotics are actually regulated & what is questionable. To ensure that you are eating eggs completely antibiotic free, you’re going to want to go with Certified Organic.
- Grade A: This is a quality grade, AA, A, or B. The difference between the grades is the texture. Grade B is thinner & the yolk tends to be flatter. Grades AA & A are best for poaching. These grades have nothing to do with how the hens are treated or their conditions. Just another term!
- Organic: These are the eggs you want to be buying & eating!! 150%, no questions asked, $1.00 or $100.00! (exaggeration obviously ;)) Buying your eggs Certified USDA Organic ensures that the chickens have had outdoor access, & are fed a 100% organic diet, with NO antibiotics! unfortunately, this label does not protect these birds from some not so friendly acts like BEAK CUTTING!! (poor little chicky!) More importantly, buying Organic ensures that your eggs have NOT been treated with ARSENIC, yes i said ARSENIC. It’s added to factory-farmed chicken feed to prevent infections & spur growth!!!!!! WHAT THE HECK?!?!?
**Moral of the story is to buy your eggs Organic & hopefully Omega-3 Enriched! If you are lucky enough to know your farmer, you will be safe in knowing that along with LOCAL & ORGANIC, your hens have been treated humanely! =)
P.S. Check out my older blog post “EGGS-CELLENT” for some yummy eggs recipes to try with your delicious, organic antibiotic free eggs =)
Source: My April issue of Women’s Health & Google!