How to pick a carton of eggs?
Brown v. White?
Did you know there is absolutely nothing different between the two…
Brown eggs (admittedly my favorite even though I know there isn’t a difference in nutritional value) seem to have a thicker shell making it harder to crack & I think they are prettier because you see more spots and freckles on the outside compared to the white egg.
White eggs are cheaper… again they have the same exact nutritional value as brown eggs no matter what advertisement tries to tell you different.
So what is the difference between all of the egg options at the store?
Using the basic knowledge that I have gained through touring farms, culinary school and working in a restaurant I can tell you that it’s not the color of the egg that matters it’s the process that made the egg that is important – these definitions also pertain to chicken when you purchase those at the grocery store because well chickens hatch eggs.
Vegetarian Fed: This is straight forward. Chickens shouldn’t be eating animal by-products of animals that are higher than them on the food chain, for instance, cows & pigs would never allow a hen to eat them in their natural habitat so why feed them these animal scraps to “plump” them up?
Certified Organic: In order to be considered certified organic, the farm must abide by certain rules. The basic rules are: the farmer shouldn’t be using antibiotics, chemical pesticides, GMOs or animal by-product. GMOs are genetically modified organisms where DNA is changed to make a product different from how it would have naturally grown – surprisingly a lot of our foods in the grocery store contain GMOs so make sure you’re reading labels! To learn more about GMOs click here. Anyway back to organic foods, because farmers are required to meet certain standards to be certified it promotes an overall cleaner environment by eliminating overuse of antibiotics, chemicals, and waste.
Cage-Free v. Free-Range: It’s pretty self explanatory – the hens are not locked up in a cage and have the ability to flock freely. Otherwise, chickens are usually kept in tight closed cages their entire life without the ability to spread their wings and be the animal they are suppose to be.
This is sometimes misrepresented as a sales catch-phrase… “cage-free” should not be confused as “free-range” or “pasture raised.” Although they are not in a typical cage, cage-free hens may still only be roaming freely inside of a barn or large caged space.
Free-range or pasture raised hens get out in the fresh air to walk around. Birds that are allowed to live naturally seem to be healthier (without needing excessive antibiotics) and produce better eggs according to the farmers I’ve met, not to mention it’s better for the environment.
Certified Humane: Certified Humane is an inspection process that is done by a non-profit, Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC). They evaluate the farm standards using strict rules such as making sure the hens have a clean barn with ample roaming space to conduct their natural behaviors, access to clean water and providing s safe environment for the animal. Note: some egg cartons advertise “humane” however if it is missing the Certified Humane seal then it did not meet these standards. To find out more about this click here.
Trust me, I know it’s important to save money and plan for early retirement. However, healthy choices for both my family and the environment are also a priority for me. I try to only buy certified humane, range-free organic eggs because I want to help support the industry demand for eggs that come from farms that care about their livestock in hopes to make it the new standard on how we think and operate about farm animals. I love these Pete and Gerry’s Eggs – and trust me this is not a paid advertisement :).