How do you like your eggs—with arsenic, antibiotics, or salmonella?
An article by ABC News reports that, depending on where you get your eggs, you could be getting way more than a tasty source of protein and vitamin B12.
It’s easy to assume that you’re clear of these risks because you buy eggs with a certain label on the carton. Surely “organic” means your eggs are just eggs?
But an “organic” or “cage-free” label on a carton doesn’t always tell the whole truth.
For instance, the label “organic” means that the hens were fed organic feed and not caged. But it doesn’t guarantee that the chickens receive extensive time outdoors or that antibiotics are not used.
While the cage-free label invokes images of pastoral scenes with chickens happily plucking in an open area, that’s not always the case with this label, either.
Any eggs can be labeled “cage-free” so long as they are not raised in cages, but this doesn’t mean that they’re actually raised outdoors. Hens can be raised in crowded, filthy barns and their eggs still considered cage-free.
Again, this label can be deceiving. There’s no set standard for how long hens are allowed outside, so your “free-range” eggs could be from hens who get only a few minutes outside.
This is the label you can trust! To put this on a label, farms must be certified by the nonprofit Animal Welfare Institute. Since this is monitored by an independent third-party, you can be sure that you’re getting eggs from truly happy hens.
This is a label you can trust—if you know the farmer!
It means that the hens are raised in pastures, allowing them to feed on insects, part of their natural diet. But since there’s no independent party inspecting farms to ensure that the hens are actually pasture-raised, it’s best to know your farmer to verify this first-hand.
So isn’t it time you met your local egg farmers?
At Stoney Creek Farm, we raise chickens (Red Star variety) for our own use and to sell to neighbors. Our chickens are very happy egg layers because we have a large run for them to exercise and just the right size of coop for our 21 girls. We do keep them enclosed because of the large amount of predators on our farm—who would guess that hawks, coyotes, raccoons, bobcats and fox all roam our 15 acre farm on a regular basis!
So although we do not have eggs to sell regularly to the general public, if you’re local to the Middle Tennessee area, we love the eggs from Taylor Family Farm. Their chickens are pasture-raised and fed non-GMO feed during the winter, so you can enjoy your eggs over easy as just that—eggs, and nothing more.
Find a Farmers Market Near You
For those who are not locals, you can find nearby farmers markets here on the USDA’s website. This resource is great, allowing you to search farmers markets within a certain mile radius of your zip code!
Want to raise your own chickens?
Be sure to check out these resources on the Stoney Creek blog:
- So You Want to Raise Chickens?
- Chickens Have Teenagers Too: The Wonderful World of Poultry
- Find Out Why Chickens Are the Best Sustainable Farm Animal
And if you raise your own chickens already—did you know you’re not supposed to wash the egg shells after collecting the eggs? There is a natural coating on the egg that protects it from bacteria!