Thursday, June 2, 2016

Just what do all those labels mean on your egg carton at the store?

Just what do all those labels mean on your egg carton at the store? The more I learn about raising and selling eggs, the more I realize the buyer needs to beware. I have always been leery of package labeling, since I realize that there are always loopholes. 

My sweet chickens & Dudley the rooster spend most of their day in the pasture (almost 8 acres, plus the neighbor's yard), at the least amount will be 4 hours a day running free. The rest of the time they have a decent sized chicken run to play around in. They are fed a soy-free & non-GMO feed, which is a label I have never seen personally, though I know it exists.  All their treats are items that are grown without chemicals. In fact I have planted sunflowers this year specifically for chicken treats.
I encourage people if they are interested in the best eggs, not to depend on just what a label tells you. Find a local farmer, you will be glad you did. And it will make their day.

First are brown eggs better for you than white eggs? Over the years, for some reason I think people have just assumed brown eggs are better for you than white eggs. There isn't a difference. Well, except the white egg is white and the brown egg is brown. 
The color of the egg is determined by the type of chicken. You do know there are even blue or green eggs. Those are fun. I do get a kick out of when the carton is labeled "brown eggs".

The main difference is what the chickens eat and that fresher eggs taste different and better. 

Farm Fresh – The interesting thing is in Virginia, if you are selling eggs from your farm you can't use the word "fresh". So I am not certain what it really means. 

Humanely Raised – This statement really doesn't mean a lot to me unless it is labeled Certified Humane. If you are buying my eggs, you are always welcome to drop by my farm to see my chickens.

Cage Free – This just means the chickens are not crammed into cages. It doesn't mean they run around free. They don't even have to have access to the outdoors at all. The chickens can still be housed in very cramped quarters. 

Free Range – To use this label the chickens have to be able to get outside access for at least 5 minutes a day. So it can be misleading. They could be squashed into crowded areas all day long.

Organic – If the product you’re purchasing is stamped with the USDA Organic seal, the chickens must be fed organic (read: non- GMO) feed, no antibiotics, no pesticides around their living or grazing areas, and “free range” (see above).

Hormone Free & Antibiotic Free– This technically means nothing. Why?  From my understanding hormones has been banned in food production since 1959. The FDA has more recently banned antibiotics 

Soy Free- This is really a specialty niche market, for people that want to cut more soy out of their diet. A lot of chicken feed uses soy beans as a protein.
I am trying to eliminate more soy from my diet (it seems like soy in EVERYTHING). I am not anti soy, it's just that soy is naturally high in estrogen. Yep, estrogen.

All Natural – This means absolutely nothing. Never heard of an unnatural egg. Fake eggs? Ha.

Vegetarian Fed –  These chickens were fed a strictly vegetarian diets. Now if the chickens are free range they WILL be eating bugs, grubs and more.

Perky Gramma Teaches
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