It turns out that I might have been getting jipped buying organic eggs with High in Omega-3 thinking that I am buying superior, healthier eggs. You may have been too. I happen to buy my eggs from farmers market most of the times but every now and then I will go to a major health food store and get the “real stuff” – the healthier, organic version. But, are they really healthier ?
Here is the scoop
The Cornucopia Institute has released a report that exposes widespread abuses in the production of organic eggs, primarily by large factory farms
The study compares management practices employed by small organic egg farmers with those of large industrial operations that label eggs ‘organic’ that have been produced by chickens confined by the hundreds of thousands in industrial facilities.
According to Cornucopia News:
“After visiting over 15% of the certified egg farms in the United States, and surveying all name-brand and private-label industry marketers, it’s obvious that a high percentage of the eggs on the market should be labeled ‘produced with organic feed’ rather than bearing the USDA-certified organic logo,” said Mark A. Kastel, The Cornucopia Institute’s co-director and senior farm policy analyst.”
Eighty percent of all organic eggs are produced by a handful of operations. Most of these businesses own hundreds of thousands to millions of birds and market a percentage of their produce as ‘specialty eggs,’ one of which is organic. Most of the giant hen houses used by these factory farms provide no legitimate access to the outdoors, which is a requirement of federal organic regulations.
“Many of these operators are gaming the system by providing minute enclosed porches, with roofs and concrete or wood flooring, and calling these structures ‘the outdoors,’ stated Charlotte Vallaeys, a farm policy analyst with Cornucopia and lead author of the report.
“Many of the porches represent just 3 to 5 percent of the square footage of the main building housing the birds. That means 95 percent or more of the birds have absolutely no access whatsoever.”
Much of the organic eggs bought mean that the hens that produce these eggs are eating organic feed. The feed consist of mostly corn – an unnatural diet for hens.
What should you do
To get the best eggs get them from a farmers market or an actual farm. Eggs should come from hens that are healthy and healthy hens roam freely and eat worms, some grains and seeds.
Contrary to my previous belief, DO NOT buy eggs that are omega-3 fortified. Typically, the animals producing these eggs are fed poor-quality sources of omega-3 fats that are already oxidized. Also, omega-3 eggs do not last anywhere near as long as non-omega-3 eggs.
Here is a breakdown of good eggs vs. bad eggs:
|GOOD EGGS||BAD EGGS|
|Definition||Certified organic, free range cage free chickens, No antibiotic||small crowded cages, use anti-biotics, un-natural diet|
|Chicken feed||Grass, worms, bugs, some grain w flaxseed||Corn and grains w antibiotics, 16 percent Layer Crumbles|
|Saturated Fat||¼ Less||More|
|Vitamin A||2/3 more||Less|
|Omega3 fatty acids||2 times more||Less|
|Vitamin E||3 times more||Less|
|Beta carotene||7 times more||Less|
|Yolk||Dark yellow/ Orange||Light to very light Yellow|
|Freshness (white)||Cloudy whites||Watery, runny whites|
|Freshness (in a bowl full of cold water)||sinks to the bottom||Stands up or floats|
|Cooked||Soft boiled, poached||Scramble, fried, microwave|
The Cornucopia institute