We’ve all heard of the “incredible, edible egg,” but which kind is best?
There are many choices (cage-free, free-range/free-roaming, and pasture-raised) when it comes to eggs and it can be hard to know which kind is best! Being knowledgeable about what each label and growing practice means can help you make the best decision for you and your family.
CAGE FREE - hens are not confined to cages but it doesn’t mean that they were given outdoor access. This label is USDA regulated.
FREE RANGE/FREE ROAMING - hens are uncaged and have outdoor access if they choose. This could be a large green pasture or it could just be a small opening in the side of the hen house. This label is USDA regulated.
PASTURE-RAISED - hens are uncaged and have outdoor access. This label has no legal definition or third-party verification.
CERTIFIED ORGANIC - Cage free or free range hens are raised on certified organic feed. Look for the USDA Organic seal to know that the label claims have been verified.
OMEGA-3 ENRICHED - Laying hens are fed a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, resulting in an egg with higher omega-3 level. Labeling increased fatty acid content requires USDA approval.
No matter what the label reads, there is no significant difference in nutrient contentbased on the color of the eggs or living arrangements of laying hens. And as a friendly reminder - ALL chickens are free from added hormones and no hormones are given to egg laying hens in the United States.
In our family we purchase eggs from conventional hens and it’s a choice I feel comfortable making because I am fully educated on the difference between cage-free, free-range/free-roaming, and pasture-raised, while taking into consideration cost and nutritional value. Next time you pick up a dozen eggs, - or two - you also can make the best choice for you and your family with a little more knowledge!