Contrasting the different varieties of eggs

Eggs, a staple in most households, are one of the few foods that consumers never forget to include in their grocery list. 

Unless you’re someone who is well-versed when it comes to poultry, you probably find yourself confused when purchasing eggs at the market because you encounter qualifiers like “free-range,” “cage-free,” or “pasture-raised” on egg cartons.

Most people are not familiar with these variants. Ask people what kind of eggs they prefer and they will probably answer with terms like “scrambled” or “hard boiled.” It is seldom to never that we can hear one answer “free-range,” “cage-free,” or “pasture-raised.”

Here are the different types of eggs that can help you reconsider which type to get on your next trip to the grocery!

Cage-free. These eggs are from hens that are not caged. These hens do not have access to the, outdoors but are given the freedom to roam freely within their area. They usually have unlimited access to food and water that allows them to have better lifestyle compared to those confined to a traditional 8 ½ by 11 inches pen. However, these cage-free hens are prone to being involved with hen-to-hen violence and lower air quality than those that are caged.

Free-range. These eggs come from hens that are able to roam more freely outdoors, meaning they are less confined to their cages all day. They have more space than cage-free hens.

Pasture-raised. The hens that produce these eggs are given the freedom to roam within a 108 square foot of outdoor space where they can forage for food. Hence, these pasture-raised eggs are often labelled “Certified Humane” or “Animal Welfare Approved” as they are laid by “happy” chickens.”

Aside from these terms we come across market shelves, there are also other terms we often encounter such as:

Local. These eggs were laid by hens that are located less than 400 miles from the processing facility or within the same area.

Organic. For eggs to be considered organic, they must be laid by hens who are fed purely organic food.

Vegetarian-fed. These are eggs laid by omnivorous hens who feed on animal by-products.

Hormone-free. These eggs have passed set regulations with regards to the layers not being injected with hormones. This can vary from country to country.

No Added Antibiotics. Eggs with this label simply mean that they are safe for human consumption. In some countries, antibiotics are sometimes used for chickens, but not for egg-laying ones. 

Given all this information, you can now reorganize your grocery list and choose the type of egg better suited to your preference.

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