December 30th, 2009 | george | Comments Off on Understanding Your Egg Choices
When I was growing up you had one choice when buying eggs. An egg was an egg was an egg. Today, there are significant differences and choices at retail when choosing a brand of egg. In addition to size, eggs are now produced with emphasis on both environmental conditions of the hens as well as the nutritional value of the egg itself. Below are some of the terms that a consumer will find when facing the vast array of egg brands in a retail store.
Organic – The requirements for labeling eggs as organic are governed under governmental NOP (National Organic Program) regulations. These regulations cover feed, living conditions, and medication. 1) Feed must be certified as organic. No animal by-products or genetically modified organisms may be used in the feed. 2) In organic egg production, hens must live cage-free with access to the outdoors. In states with adverse weather conditions, hens may be confined inside during the duration of the bad weather. 3) Antibiotics cannot be administered as a routine protocol. They are allowed only when a general outbreak of infection or disease occurs.
Cage-Free/Free-Range – There are no federal standards with regard to either cage-free or free-range eggs. Generally, hens are not confined to cages, and are allowed to roam freely in sheds or farmyards. There is significant discussion about establishing standards for hens living in a cage-free environment. Most cage-free egg producers will provide specific information about the living conditions of their hens.
Omega-3 Eggs – Many eggs are being produced with higher levels of the polyunsaturated fatty acid omega 3. Research has shown omega-3 fatty acids reduce triglyceride levels in the blood. Omega-3 enriched eggs are produced by altering the feed of laying hens. Typically, hens would be fed a diet of 10-20% flaxseed. Flaxseed is higher in omega-3 fatty acids than other grains.
Every division of Albert’s offers a variety of all the above types of eggs.
Overall, eggs represent a product dense in nutrition, and an incredibly good value for the dollar. Once you make a decision about the type of egg you want to buy, your only choice becomes sunny-side up, over easy, scrambled, or hard-boiled!