Organic Vs Free Range Eggs

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Grade A Vs Grade Aa Eggs

Cage Free, Free Range & USDA Organic Eggs | Ask Organic Valley

The Cage Free eggs are Grade AA while the Free Range Eggs are Grade A.

The difference in Grade is based on the quality of the egg, not the size.

Specifically, the USDA says:

U.S. Grade AA eggs have whites that are thick and firm yolks that are high, round, and practically free from defects and clean, unbroken shells.

U.S. Grade A eggs have characteristics of Grade AA eggs except that the whites are reasonably firm.

So basically Grade A and Grade AA are just about the same with the only meaningful difference being that the Grade AA eggs have firmer whites.

I suspect the reason that the Cage Free eggs are Grade AA is that the farmers have complete control over the food intake of these birds as compared to the Free Range birds that have a varied diet.

Organic Eggs Vs Free Range: Which Costs More

Since organic eggs are the better choice, are organic eggs more expensive?

Organic eggs are more expensive than free range eggs. Organic eggs are from chickens raised under stricter guidelines and different feed which both cost more money than free range chickens.

I checked three different supermarkets located in the same area of the northeaster United States. I compared the prices or organic eggs and free range eggs, here are my results:

How To Buy Eggs: What Do Organic Cage

Buying a simple carton of eggs, like a lot of things in life, has gotten more complicated. Here’s how to understand what all those words on the carton mean so you can decide which matter.

Organic: Organic eggs are certified to have been laid by cage-free or free-range hens raised on organic feed and with access to the outdoors. However, a recent report by the Cornucopia Institute indicates that many larger producers don’t always comply with these requirements for organic eggs . Most small-scale farmers were found to be in compliance.

Cage-free: Means the hens can roam in a building, room or open area instead of a battery cage, a 16×20-inch cage that houses up to 11 birds. It does not necessarily mean that hens have access to the outdoors. Nor does it indicate how much room they have to move around.

Free-range:Eggs labeled free-range were laid by hens that have access to the outdoors. This can simply mean the hens have an indoor space connected to an outdoor areanot that they are roaming around “free.” In addition to eating grain these hens may forage for wild plants and insects.

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Egg color: Determined by the breed of hen. They can be pretty, but there is no inherent nutritional or taste difference.

Size: Refers to the weight of whole eggs per dozen.

Hormone-free: This label is on many cartons, but no laying hens are given hormones.

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Difference Between Free Range And Organic

Free Range vs Organic

People have become very health conscious and also do not want to be a part of the cruelty being committed towards animals, especially those that are slaughtered to obtain meat. This awareness has given rise to terms like Free Range and Organic that apply to eggs and meat obtained from animals. The two terms can often be confusing for common people as they cannot decide between products bearing the label free range and those labeled organic. This article attempts to highlight the differences between free range and organic labels.


In this age of so many diseases and increasing levels of pollution, it is natural for people to be attracted to food items that are grown organically. The term is also being applied to animals raised in a natural manner, and the eggs obtained from organically raised hens are labeled organic. More and more people today are turning towards organic eggs and meat in the hope that they get to eat foods that are better quality and not contaminated in any manner. The aim in organic farming is to give the animals natural food items and to give them a natural environment to grow and live as far as possible. To be called organic, poultry must not be fed food that contains antibiotics. Their food must also not contain growth hormones. The standards for the organic label are different in different countries and also different in US than they are in EU.

Free Range

What is the difference between Free Range and Organic?

How To Identify Organic Eggs

Pin on Pins for hens

With so many choices of eggs on the supermarket shelves, it can get a little confusing at times picking the correct ones. Many of my clients have asked, how do I know if my eggs are organic?

Organic eggs cartons are labeled with the USDA Organic Seal. The seal contains a brown edged circle containing the words USDA Organic. The USDA letters are colored green on a white background and the organic letters are colored white on a green background.

Dont get fooled by the words, farm fresh, cage free or natural. While true organic eggs may also have the same terms, like Organic Cage Free, always check for the USDA Organic circle.

The organic eggs you see in the grocery store came from farms that follow certain USDA standards. The organic label refers to the feed these chickens were given, as well as requirements the USDA sets for living conditions, healthcare and handling 1.

Eggs labeled organic when they know it doesnt meet the USDA standards are subject to a civil penalty with fines of several thousand dollars 2.

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Does Organic Mean Pasture Raise

Organic and pasture-raised are not the same. Organic eggs come from hens eating organic chicken feed, meaning no GMO ingredients and no by-products. Pasture-raised eggs are laid by chickens spending most of their time outside and eating a diet of plants, insects, seeds and some chicken feed.

Both are higher in vitamins A and E, and omega-3 fatty acids, than conventional eggs. They might sound like they must be a healthy or humane choice, but the practices behind these labels are often unclear 1.

Which kind of egg is better? There are pros and cons to both varieties.

What About Free Range

You might think “free range” means free, but think again. You might visualize a beautiful landscape of hens wandering on a bed of green grass under the sun but, in fact, “free range” is not much different from “cage free,” with the exception of a tiny door or ramp that leads to another tiny area. They must have “access” to the outdoors to be labeled free range but, with thousands of chickens confined in one area, do you think they can actually use that door?

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Animal Rights And Welfare Of Egg

Beak trimming to reduce aggression in hens

Chicks routinely have their beaks trimmed by a number of methods, when they are one day old as they are vaccinated. There are studies that show this is a painful procedure and can result in chronic pain as the bird ages.

Trimming reduces the occurrence of pecking at surrounding birds. Plus a less stressed flock produces more eggs.

Aggression in hens can be successfully reduced by other means:

  • smaller flocks.

Forced moulting to improve egg quality

Hens naturally moult yearly, or more often if they are responding to stress.

If a longer time passes between moulting, egg quality and production rate are both poor, and the birds’ health suffers as they become overweight.

Egg nutrition and shell quality is improved after a new set of feathers are grown in and weight has decreased.

To induce an entire flock to moult at the same time, the hens are starved for 7-14 days.

Forced moulting is not common in Canada, and it is not allowed in the UK or in organic certified flocks.

Disposal of male chicks

To replace egg laying flocks as they age, hens are allowed to breed. Half of the hatched chicks are male, and therefore unusable in egg production.

Chicks are identified as male or female within one or two days of hatching. Male chicks are usually destroyed immediately, using a number of methods, some of which are brutally painful.

  • Put through a high speed grinder.
  • Suffocated with gas .
  • Having their head cut off.
  • Electrocuted.

So Which Eggs Really Are The Best

Organic Eggs vs. Conventional Farm Eggs, Free Range Chickens, & Ethical Animal Treatment Vital Farms

Organic free range or organic pastured eggs are certainly the healthiest for the birds, and because the hens are allowed to roam and eat greens and insects, they produce eggs with the highest nutritional content.

The lower pesticide content and forbidden preventative use of antibiotics in organic egg production, results in less of these chemicals ending up in our bodies.

Locally produced eggs have the lowest transport costs, and deliver the freshest eggs.

Ask your local council to find organic free range egg producers in your area.

But, even better is to …

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Organic Eggs Vs Pasture Eggs: A Comparison

If grocery shopping leaves you overwhelmed in the egg aisle, youre not alone. There are so many different labels on egg cartons: free-range, cage-free, local, hormone-free. Organic eggs vs. pastured raised is a particularly confusing comparison, so whats the difference?

Organic eggs are laid by chickens having only been fed a certified organic diet with no GMOs or animal by-products. Pastured raised eggs come from hens foraging grasses, seeds and insects outside. These chickens also eat feed, but it is not their primary diet.

Studies show both organic and pasture-raised eggs have healthier nutritional content than conventional eggs.In this article, youll learn more about organic and pasture-raised eggs as well look more closely at their nutritional content and farming practices.

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Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

What Does Free Range Mean

The term free range is federally regulated, but due to the USDAs lack of detailed guidelines, third party certifiers are the gold standard when it comes to free range eggs. Without a strong third party certifier to back free range claims, these hens can be confined to screened-in porches or cement and still be considered free range. All Pete and Gerrys partner farmers follow the Humane Farm Animal Care Certified Humane Free Range standards, which are arguably the highest and most transparent of their kind. On our farms, being free range means that during most times of the day and year , our hens are free to roam outside as they please. Our free range hens have a minimum of 2 square feet per hen of pasture, and thats an average for every hen in the flock. It’s very rare for the entire flock to choose to be outside at any one time during the day most of them prefer the shade, water, feed, or social opportunities inside the barn, so the girls that feel like venturing out usually have a vast expanse of a field all to themselves to explore. When you pick up a carton of Pete and Gerrys Organic Eggs, know that the hens that laid them enjoyed:

  • Daily access to green, grassy pastures that are never treated with synthetic pesticides
  • Absolutely no cages
  • Freedom to stretch, dust bathe, perch, and lay in privacy
  • Daily access to clean, fresh water and organic feed
  • Outdoor shade structures
  • – Spacious, single-level barns

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    Antibiotic use is unrestricted, chicks are usually vaccinated, and there are no guarantees against beak trimming, or forced molting .

    Outside of the EU there are no regulations that cover cage-free eggs, or the use of the term ‘cage-free’.

    Free-range eggs

    Free range hens are fed a grain mixture, the same as in battery and cage-free farms, but they can supplement their diet with greens and insects as they can roam around a yard, a shed or an enclosed chicken coop.

    In addition to the cage-free regulations, the EU rules for free-range hens ensure that each bird has 4 square meters outside, with unfettered access throughout the day. They can run outside into daylight whenever they feel like it, which contributes to the happiness and health of the birds.

    There are no restrictions on antibiotic use, vaccination, or to limit practices such as forced molting and beak trimming.

    In countries that are outside the EU, there are no regulations that cover free-range eggs, and the term ‘free-range’ may not indicate that the birds are actually allowed to roam outside their cages.

    In June 2015, Choice published the results of an investigation into Australian free range egg producers. Find out which brands produce genuinely free-range eggs.

    Free range + 1 = Pastured eggs

    Pastured or open-range hens are allowed to roam in fields, collecting the majority of their own food from grasses and insects. Their diets are usually supplemented by standard grain feed.

    What Are Conventional Eggs

    organic vs free range eggs

    Chicken farming is all about profits. Dont be fooled by clever marketing phrases on the cartons. A box of eggs with a picture of a pretty chicken frolicking on a green grassy field with the wording, Fresh Eggs is tricky and deceiving. It translates to Miserable chickens: buy these eggs so we can make more money while you eat a low-nutrient egg.

    Most chickens are raised in factories, where they are crowded together in a very confined area, trampling on each other. Some are kept in individual cages with no room to move. It might have never crossed your mind, but this is a potential breeding condition for bacteria and disease.

    If any chickens die, well by golly, there goes the farmers profit. So what do they do to prevent that from happening? They stuff antibiotics into their systems, which means some of these antibiotics can end up in your eggs. Hormones can also be given to boost egg production. It makes sense from a profit perspective, since more laid eggs equal more profit, but it’s not good for either the chicken or the egg.

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    Organic Eggs Vs Free Range Eggs

    People today are more concerned about nutrition, hence a boom in organic and free-range food options. When it comes to eggs, more people are opting for organic and free-range eggs over regular ones. However, one may wonder if there are any differences between organic and free-range eggs.

    Free range eggs are eggs laid by chickens unraised in cages, whereas organic eggs are eggs laid by chickens having only been fed organic feed without other chemicals or drugs. Organic eggs are high-quality, healthy and nutritious more superior to free range eggs.

    This article will discuss the similarities and differences between free-range and organic eggs. In addition, Ill cover which type of egg is the best in terms of nutrition, cost and several other benefits.

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    Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

    Usda Standards For Organic Eggs

    To qualify as organic, eggs must come from chickens that are fed only organic feed . No genetically modified foods can be used. Additionally, organic eggs must come from chickens that are given antibiotics only in the event of an infectioncommercial chickens, on the other hand, are given antibiotics on a routine basis. No hormones or other drugs can be used in organic egg production.

    Moltingwhen birds shed their older feathers to make room for new onesis sometimes induced in commercial egg and chicken production by withholding food, water, or by other means. Molting extends the productive life of laying chickens, but it cannot be induced in chickens laying organic eggs only natural molting is allowed to occur.

    Organic eggs must come from chickens that live in cage-free environments and have access to the outdoors, even if their outdoor area is just a small pen or enclosed yard area. Pens are used to protect the chickens and their eggs from predators like hawks, foxes, raccoons, coyotes, and other animals.

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    Barn Raised Chickens With Access To The Outdoors

    One of Costcos egg suppliers of Cage Free Eggs is Wilcox Family Farms.

    In the video below you can see what the living conditions of the chickens used for Cage Free egg production. Personally I think the conditions are not bad at all!

    The chickens are not confined in cages, appear to have plenty of space in the barns and can go outside to the fenced in porch if desired. These birds get all of their food and water provided by the farmers.

    Free Range Or Organic Eggs: Which Is Better

    What is the difference between organic and free range eggs

    With so many different factors and statistics to consider, choosing the best egg product can be a difficult question to answer. So which egg is the better, free range or organic?

    Organic eggs are better than free range eggs because they are from chickens fed with feed free from antibiotics, GMO, animal-by-products and synthetic preservatives. The chickens who lay organic eggs are kept on land free from pesticides or chemicals.

    Organic eggs are the best choice based on the information presented earlier. Certified organic eggs are produced by chickens raised in far superior conditions than free-range chickens.

    Free-range chickens may not actually be given the opportunity to spend time outside and may still be exposed to harmful chemicals in their environment or their feed. They can still be given growth hormones, antibiotics or GMO-based products.

    Of course, free-range eggs may still be better than regular eggs since the hens laying them are allowed to roam around a designated area. Hens laying regular eggs are not as lucky and often stressed out as theyre forced into tight spaces and have their wings and beaks clipped.

    Plus, hens producing regular eggs are typically pumped with drugs and antibiotics, posing health risks.

    If youre interested in learning the difference between pasture raised vs organic, check out my article about it, Organic Eggs Vs Pasture Eggs: A Comparison.

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