by Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist on September 15, 2012
Eggs are nature’s perfect food.
Food manufacturers have attempted to demonize eggs for decades as it is infinitely more profitable to convince the public to eat Egg Beaters and processed vegetable oils rather than consume the humble nutrient perfection that is the egg.
Even folks who see through the marketing hype against eggs that is cleverly disguised as “science” frequently get waylaid by the “free range” and “organic” labeling on egg cartons.
The truth is that buying organic or free range eggs from the supermarket or healthfood store is no guarantee that the hens providing those eggs lived a healthy life or that the eggs they provide are nutrient dense.
Reality Check #1: Did you know that there are no requirements for the quality or amount of time spent outside for organic or free range eggs? This means that organic eggs could actually be from hens who get basically no bugs in their diet from pecking in the ground. If the hens don’t get to peck around in the ground for grubs and insects, the eggs they produce will have drastically reduced nutritional value – organic or not.
Reality Check #2: Did you know that the hens from organic or free range egg farms can still have their beaks cut and be subjected to forced molting which involves starving them for 7-14 days which can in many cases kill them?
Reality Check #3: Eggs marked as “cage free” does not mean that the hens have access to the outdoors or even daylight! The hens could actually be running around inside with artificial lighting on a concrete floor and the eggs still qualify as cage free!
The only way to get truly healthy eggs where you can be sure the hens are not abused is to buy local from a farmer you trust.
There is no way around this folks that I have found. You must get off your duff and start connecting with the people in your community if you really want to source some decent eggs!
Folks in my buying club regularly tell me how shocked they are when they run out of the eggs sourced locally and buy a carton of organic eggs from the store how puny, pathetic and bland tasting they are. They are also incredibly expensive.
Not only will you more than likely save yourself some money buying eggs locally, you will also be helping a local business remain viable and improving the nutrient density of your diet all at the same time!
Organic most definitely does not always mean better when it comes to eggs!
Below is a fantastic infographic on the reality behind the egg industry created by Kristin Lindquist at visualism.org. What factoids did you find most alarming?