Frequently I am asked questions about foods and nutrition as well as exercise. Not too long ago, someone asked me questions about organic eggs. Since that time, I have read a great article on eggs, from the June 2015 Nutrition Action Health Letter which is published by The Center for Science in the Public Interest. Below is what they have to say about the claims on eggs.
Some egg claims are certified by independent organizations. For others, you have to trust the hens’ owners. Still others mean nothing.
• USDA Organic: Hens must be uncaged and have outdoor access (how much is not specified). Hens must be fed an organic, all-vegetarian diet that is free of antibiotics and pesticides. Beak cutting is allowed. Hens cannot have been given antibiotics after they were two days old.
• Certified Humane: Hens must be uncaged. They may or may not have outdoor access. Beak cutting is allowed.
• United Egg Producers Certified: Meets minimum voluntary industry standards, which, according to the Humane Society, “permits factory farmers to intensively confine hens in barren, wire ‘battery cages’ so small the birds can barely move”.
• Animal Welfare Approved: Hens are raised by family farmers in flocks of no more than 500 birds that have “continuous access to an outside area for foraging and ranging.” Beak cutting is banned. The animals are fed no animal byproducts.
• Cage-Free: Hens live outside cages, but usually have no access to the outdoors.
• Free-Range or Free-Roaming: Hens are cage-free and have some outdoor access. How much? It is up to the hens’ owners.
• Pasture-Raised or Pastured: Hens spend at least some time outside foraging for plants and bugs.
• Raised without Antibiotics: Hens were never fed antibiotics. (If a hen requires antibiotics to treat illness, its eggs cannot carry this claim.)
• Hormone-Free: It is illegal for egg producers to feed hormones to their hens.
• Natural: It can mean anything
I recommend that you always read labels and do not allow yourself to be misled. Food producers are excellent at marketing their products whether it is eggs, meat, bread, cereal, etc. Labels often say things that are misleading, and the consumer thinks they are eating something that is healthier or better for them. Many times these claims are meaningless, but the producers are charging more because many of us think we are buying a healthier product. Always make sure you educate yourself and take responsibility for your own health.
For more questions about fitness and general nutrition, contact Janet Hunt at 256-614-3530 or visit Janet’s Fitness Facebook page.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.