Egg buying was once easy—white eggs or brown eggs. End of story.
(To which the reply was a no brainer for yolk-lovers. We at all times flock to brown eggs as a result of their yolks simply at all times appear a bit richer, don’t they?)
Fun truth in case you missed it—the one distinction between brown and white eggs are that brown eggs come from chickens with brown feathers and white eggs come from chickens with white feathers. Other than that, their dietary make-up is similar: 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of fats, 5 p.c of your day by day vitamin A wants, and 10 p.c of your vitamin D wants.
But egg buying in the present day, nevertheless, isn’t really easy or easy.
The Trouble With Eggs
You stand on the egg fridge at your grocery and see white eggs, brown eggs, free-range eggs, natural free-range eggs, cage-free eggs, Omega-Three fortified eggs, antibiotic-free eggs, pasture-raised eggs, and on and on—your confusion builds.
Something tells you you need to keep away from a budget massive, white eggs for $2.99 for a dozen so that you go for the middle-priced brown, free-range eggs for $Four.50 as a result of they appear to supply one thing extra, you assume. You’re unsure why, however you keep in mind listening to brown eggs are more healthy than white.
But is that this sufficient?
Should you be spending $7.99 a dozen for the licensed natural, cage-free, pasture-raised eggs with out antibiotics which have been pumped with Omega-Three fatty acids?
Total. Mind. F**okay. Right?
Let’s unravel all this egg confusion. What do the labels actually imply? And do they matter?
You’re going to hate me for this reply: It relies upon.
It depends upon your priorities and it depends upon the place you reside: The US versus Canada, for instance.
Let’s think about three priorities beneath.
Egg Guideline 1: Hen Happiness
In the US, the fact is that almost all of egg-laying hens reside in shut quarters in cages barely large enough for them to completely stretch their wings.
So, if this tugs at your heartstrings, then cage-free might be for you as a result of at the least it tells you the chickens have sufficient house to maneuver round. That is, nevertheless, just about all it tells you. Free-range eggs inform the same story. The hens get to go exterior and run round and do their pure hen-like actions.
In Canada, however, there are totally different housing choices for the hens.
- Conventional housing – Hens reside in small teams in cages. Like the US, that is the most typical methodology utilized by egg farmers. In truth, as many as 90 p.c of eggs in Canada are produced this manner in cages.
- “Enriched housing” – Hens reside in cages of various sizes they usually’re in a position to lay their eggs in a nesting space with easy accessibility to meals and water.
- Free-run housing – Hens roam a bit extra freely, however are nonetheless stored in a barn. They even have bedding areas and nesting areas for egg-laying.
- Free-range housing – Similar to free-run besides the hens even have entry to an out of doors house, relying on the climate.
Egg Guideline 2: Your Own Health
You have been informed you want extra Omega-Three fatty acids as a result of it helps with restoration, irritation, reduces coronary heart illness, and so on. You don’t eat a lot fish and also you dislike the fishy burps you produce after taking a fish oil complement. If that is you, then Omega-Three eggs is perhaps the eggs for you, as they’ve been pumped with Omega-Three (largely DHA) fatty acids.
If the non-GMO factor is your precedence, then natural eggs is perhaps for you—that is precisely what that designation tells you. As for pasture-raised, this tells you the farm has been licensed by a third-party, such because the Certified Humane Program (at the least that is what it means within the US).
The True Gold Standard
The shortcoming with all the above labels (cage-free, free-range, free-run, Omega-Three, natural, and pasture-raised) is there are nonetheless many unknowns, equivalent to what the hens have been fed.
Thus, the gold customary, so to talk, in case you reside within the United States is USDA licensed natural—which means the hens have been raised following an agreed-upon customary of observe. The USDA licensed natural label additionally ensures the eggs have been produced with out pesticides or fertilizers and that the hens have been fed an natural weight-reduction plan free from animal by-products or antibiotics.
In Canada, hens are very hardly ever fed antibiotics except they’re sick, so it’s much less of a priority than it’s within the United States.
The Egg Takeaway
Navigating egg greatest practices is difficult at the most effective of occasions. Some nice recommendation a buddy gave me some time again: Get to know an area farmer (I discovered one at an area farmer’s market) and take a look at their farm in particular person.
Even although most hens are housed in cages, there are various that aren’t, and in case you’re a Four-eggs-a-day type of particular person like me, it’s price investing the time to search out an egg supply you’re proud of.
Related: The Great Egg Debate: Why You Should Eat Eggs, Why You Shouldn’t Not Eat Eggs