Thursday 28th May 2009
Organic Free range eggs, the myths exposed

We all like to think that buying organic free range eggs is both better for us and better for the chickens. This is undoubtedly the case for the chickens, but the idea we might have of happy chickens running around outside, is often far from the mark. And as for ourselves how much healthier are these eggs for us?

Well unfortunately, because of the wide range of regulations and definitions of free range and organic eggs, it is not possible to definitively say that an egg of this variety is definitely healthier than a cage hen egg. There are many different labels that claim our attention while shopping for eggs but many of these are in fact misleading or irrelevant. Here is a run down of some of the important ones.

Organic: Certified organic eggs are from hens allowed to roam freely on land not contaminated with chemicals or pesticides. Check that the company is certified by The Soil Association or other such body, as some companies falsely claim organic eggs.

Free range: In packaging terms this simply means "not caged". There can be tens of thousands of birds in a barn with only one small exit. Many birds kept in such conditions will rarely if ever, go outside.

Barn Laid: Hens are allowed to move freely within a barn but are unable to go outside.

Vegetarian: Hens are not fed any meat or fish mixed in with their feed. Such hens are often cage hens as it is difficult to control the diet of hens that are able to go outside.

Preservative Free: This is quite misleading, it's not possible to add preservatives to the eggs through the shell, but eggs themselves contain natural preservatives.

Hormone free: This is meaningless as hormones are not approved for use in eggs in most countries including the UK, Australia and the US.

Omega-3 Enriched: Omega-3 acids are an essential part of the human diet and have many health benefits. Birds fed Omega-3 rich feed such as flax seeds can produce eggs high in Omega-3. There's nothing to stop you just eating flax seeds yourself though, and gaining the benefit directly.

Comments (2)

Frank Mills said, 28th May 2009 @ 1:06
Vegetarians would definately benefit for more Omega-3 acids.  
AndrewBoldman said, 04th Jun 2009 @ 21:50
da best. Keep it going! Thank you  

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