Cage free is just what it sounds like…
Free range…cage free…organic…vegetarian fed…there are so many labels on eggs these days it can certainly become confusing for the average consumer to figure out what’s what! Let’s take a look at one type of egg – cage free – and break it down to make it simpler. Cage free is just what it sounds. These egg-laying hens are not confined to small battery cages that prohibit the use of their wings or the ability to turn around. Instead, they are allowed to roam about the interior of a barn freely. They can peck, scratch, nest, socialize, exercise, and run about as they please.
Cage free eggs come from cage free chickens, and it should say as much on the egg carton label in question. Free range chickens, on the other hand, means something a little bit different. This difference is very small, however. Like cage free chickens, free range chickens are not confined to cages and can roam freely within the barn. Unlike cage free birds, these birds likely have access to the outdoors for part of the day. That being said, this part of egg production is poorly regulated by the USDA, as there is no cut-and-dried government-regulated standards in “free-range” egg production. This means there are no strict rules as to what the birds can be fed and how much, along with the quality and duration of outdoor living. And although they have ACCESS to the outdoors, they may not always get it. Additionally, even though free range chickens are given this access to the outside, this doesn’t mean they’re pasture raised, which is an entirely different concept.
Because they’re so similar in wording, cage free eggs and free range eggs are often used interchangeably. Both types of hens can be raised in overpopulated situations and given GMOs or hormones. The lack of clear-cut legal standards in all classifications of eggs can lead to confusion on the part of the consumer. That’s why it’s important to buy your eggs from trusted sources. CMC Foods is always up-front about our eggs and the chickens that produced them. We’re clear with our labels and are always here to answer your questions. You can trust the eggs you buy from us because we’re looking out for you.