Nor does free-range, cage-free and fed on a vegetarian diet. Though these terms suggest ethical farming methods and nutrient rich eggs, in reality they are not. USDA guidelines are vague and manufacturers exploit this, much to the detriment of your health.
Here’s a simple guide to help you uncoil this labelling confusion, and what to buy instead.
The Do Not’s:
Free-Range / Cage-Free:
According to a federal law in 2007, chickens labelled free-range or cage-free are technically allowed to be crammed in a warehouse where they are fed soy and corn, PROVIDED, a door to a small patch of grass is left open.
All vegetarian feed:
Don’t be fooled. This basically means that chickens are fed grains and soy – both of which are common to factory farming methods and are used to fatten up livestock. Adding insult to injury, they are likely sourced from GMO seeds.
So is arsenic, and what’s more, it is legally used to feed to ‘organic chickens’. Think about that.
When buying eggs, the most important label to look for is ‘pasture raised‘. Chickens raised this way are allowed to roam pastures and feed off grass and bugs, the way nature intended.
I live in New York City, and the nearest pastured raised farm is 200 miles away. After some digging, I discovered Vital Farms Alfresco, the only pasture raised eggs sold in certain NYC grocery stores (and on jet.com). I’m happy to pay $10 for a dozen eggs, and I encourage you to research your nearest pasture raised egg farm or brand. Eating anything less, is a violation of the animals rights and your health.
As always, pushing for health.