You may buy organic eggs because you feel better that the chickens are treated better.
That’s not necessarily so. So here are some tips for June 3rd, National Egg Day.
“Organic” means only that the chickens have organic feed and organic bedding (straw). It has nothing to do with how they’re treated.
In fact, hens kept “cage free” on a barn floor so crowded that they can’t move, can be labeled organic, and cage-free as well!
They may not be confined to a cage, but if over-crowded they still can’t move freely, and are vulnerable to be pecked and even killed by other birds in the body-to-body crush.
The next time you buy organic eggs, avoid those from megafarms and look instead for eggs from smaller local farmers.
You may pay more, but you’ll have made the better choice.
Check that your local farmer has free range chickens with yard access, so they can peck for their dinner and eat what hens like to eat: worms, bugs, grass, flowers, fruits, vegetables, and feed provided by the farmer, containing grains and seeds.
Eggs from stress free, free range hens taste better, too. As one of our colleagues says, “They taste like a different species!”
Here’s a list of top-rated egg farms nationwide, from The Cornucopia Institute, a nonprofit agricultural watchdog group that reveals industrial practices within the “flexible” organic standards.
DO THE EGGS HAVE TO BE ORGANIC?
Some quality farmers are so small with limited resources, that they elect not to do all the paperwork and conform to exact specifications and audits to be certified organic.
In our opinion, it’s better to buy free range (not cage-free) eggs, rather than organic eggs that are not free range. Don’t be encouraged by “cage free”: The conditions can be crowded and miserable.