What are organic eggs are and why they earn that distinction…?
You may associate organic eggs with natural eggs that cost a bit more than their conventional counterparts. To some extent, that’s true. But there’s a lot more to it than that, and they cost more for a reason. If you’ve ever stood at the egg section in the grocery store reading labels, you know there are countless options, from free range and cage free to organic and pasture raised. Here, we’ll explain what organic eggs are and why they earn that distinction.
By definition, organic eggs come from chickens that are given organic food. It’s a simple definition that still has a lot of explanation attached. The USDA specifies that organic egg laying hens have to be given access to the outdoors and can’t be held in cages. Farmers cannot give chickens antibiotics unless disease has broken out in the flock. Forced molting is not allowed, as it is with cage free or free range chickens. Natural molting is encouraged instead. Farmers must meet basic standards of animal welfare, which means they can’t cut off beaks or wings without the proper sedatives.
Organic chickens are only fed organic feed – never any additives, growth hormones, animal byproducts or GMOs. The USDA is required to inspect the farms before a label of “organic” is allowed to be used on the eggs. Certification requirements vary by country, so the standards that you see in the U.S. are not necessarily what you will see elsewhere. Certified organic farmers mustn’t use GMOs in their crops, and the crops must be free of all synthetic fertilization for a total of three years prior to becoming certified organic. In addition, the chickens can’t be fed any animal by-products.
Organic eggs come from hens that are not confined to small battery cages – in fact, no cages at all. They can roam freely within their barns, nesting, perching, lying down or stretching their wings. They can go outside, even if it’s a small pen or fence-enclosed space. This is to keep them from being harmed by predators in the wild like hawks and foxes.
Organic eggs are just one small part of a higher consciousness about the environment. Organic means the food in question has come about through approved methods that combine cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that encourage a cycling of resources, boost ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity, according to the USDA. Farmers, thus, cannot employ the use of synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering to produce their eggs.
When perusing eggs at the store, make sure you look for the USDA organic seal – this proves the eggs were produced via national organic standards. The extra money you’ll pay at the grocery store for organic eggs – up to $4 a dozen — is largely due to the expenses that go toward the certification process. Essentially, you’re paying for peace of mind.
Trust CMC Foods to provide you with peace of mind through high-quality organic eggs.