Egg procuring was once easy—white eggs or brown eggs. Finish of story.
(To which the reply was a no brainer for yolk-lovers. We at all times flock to brown eggs as a result of their yolks simply at all times appear a bit richer, don’t they?)
Enjoyable truth in case you missed it—the one distinction between brown and white eggs are that brown eggs come from chickens with brown feathers and white eggs come from chickens with white feathers. Apart from that, their dietary make-up is equivalent: 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of fats, 5 p.c of your every day vitamin A wants, and 10 p.c of your vitamin D wants.
However egg procuring in the present day, nonetheless, isn’t really easy or simple.
The Bother With Eggs
You stand on the egg fridge at your grocery and see white eggs, brown eggs, free-range eggs, natural free-range eggs, cage-free eggs, Omega-Three fortified eggs, antibiotic-free eggs, pasture-raised eggs, and on and on—your confusion builds.
One thing tells you you must keep away from a budget giant, white eggs for $2.99 for a dozen so that you go for the middle-priced brown, free-range eggs for $Four.50 as a result of they appear to supply one thing extra, you suppose. You’re undecided why, however you bear in mind listening to brown eggs are more healthy than white.
However is that this sufficient?
Must you be spending $7.99 a dozen for the licensed natural, cage-free, pasture-raised eggs with out antibiotics which have been pumped with Omega-Three fatty acids?
Whole. Thoughts. F**ok. Proper?
Let’s resolve all this egg confusion. What do the labels actually imply? And do they matter?
You’re going to hate me for this reply: It relies upon.
It is dependent upon your priorities and it is dependent upon the place you reside: The US versus Canada, for instance.
Let’s take into account three priorities under.
Egg Guideline 1: Hen Happiness
Within the US, the fact is that almost all of egg-laying hens reside in shut quarters in cages barely large enough for them to totally stretch their wings.
So, if this tugs at your heartstrings, then cage-free might be for you as a result of not less than it tells you the chickens have sufficient house to maneuver round. That’s, nonetheless, just about all it tells you. Free-range eggs inform an analogous story. The hens get to go exterior and run round and do their pure hen-like actions.
In Canada, however, there are totally different housing choices for the hens.
Typical housing – Hens reside in small teams in cages. Just like the US, that is the commonest technique utilized by egg farmers. Actually, as many as 90 p.c of eggs in Canada are produced this manner in cages. “Enriched housing” – Hens reside in cages of various sizes they usually’re capable of lay their eggs in a nesting space with easy accessibility to meals and water. Free-run housing – Hens roam a bit extra freely, however are nonetheless stored in a barn. Additionally they have bedding areas and nesting areas for egg-laying. Free-range housing – Just like free-run besides the hens even have entry to an out of doors house, relying on the climate.
Egg Guideline 2: Your Personal Well being
You could have been advised you want extra Omega-Three fatty acids as a result of it helps with restoration, irritation, reduces coronary heart illness, and many others. You don’t eat a lot fish and also you dislike the fishy burps you produce after taking a fish oil complement. If that is you, then Omega-Three eggs is perhaps the eggs for you, as they’ve been pumped with Omega-Three (principally DHA) fatty acids.
If the non-GMO factor is your precedence, then natural eggs is perhaps for you—that is precisely what that designation tells you. As for pasture-raised, this tells you the farm has been licensed by a third-party, such because the Licensed Humane Program (not less than that is what it means within the US).
The True Gold Commonplace
The shortcoming with all the above labels (cage-free, free-range, free-run, Omega-Three, natural, and pasture-raised) is there are nonetheless many unknowns, akin to what the hens had been fed.
Thus, the gold normal, so to talk, in the event you reside in the US is USDA licensed natural—which means the hens had been raised following an agreed-upon normal of observe. The USDA licensed natural label additionally ensures the eggs had been produced with out pesticides or fertilizers and that the hens had been fed an natural weight-reduction plan free from animal by-products or antibiotics.
In Canada, hens are very not often fed antibiotics except they’re sick, so it’s much less of a priority than it’s in the US.
The Egg Takeaway
Navigating egg greatest practices is hard at the very best of occasions. Some nice recommendation a pal gave me some time again: Get to know a neighborhood farmer (I discovered one at a neighborhood farmer’s market) and take a look at their farm in individual.
Though most hens are housed in cages, there are lots of that aren’t, and in the event you’re a Four-eggs-a-day sort of individual like me, it’s price investing the time to seek out an egg supply you’re proud of.
Associated: The Nice Egg Debate: Why You Ought to Eat Eggs, Why You Shouldn’t Not Eat Eggs