Health Hotline Magazine | April 2023
WHICH STANDARDS MAKE THE GRADE CRACKING THE EGG
Eggs and how the hens that ay them are treated is a hot topic right now with multiple states passing aws seemingly aimed at improving the quality of the lives and environments of the hens. Unfortunately, for you, the egg consumer, weeding through which egg is better—for you, the hens, the farmers, and the environment—is a scrambled mess.
FREE RANGE &
RANGE FREE AT OTHER RETAILERS?
Unfortunately, the labels on eggs do not necessarily mean what you think they mean— like the term “cage free”. To many, cage free may imply that the hens are free to go outside and have the space to engage in natural behaviors. However, the actual cage free definition set by the USDA is vastly di erent from this. According to the USDA, “Cage-free eggs must be produced by hens housed in a building, room, or enclosure that allows for unlimited access to food and water and provides the freedom to roam that area during the laying cycle.” PROBABLY DON’T MEANWHAT YOU THINK THEY MEAN… EXCEPT AT NATURAL GROCERS ®
Cage free only means the hens are not in cages during the laying cycle. Which also means they can be caged when not producing eggs. The hens do not go outside and, cage free does not cover ecologically thoughtful practices or humane standards of care, such as indoor air quality, ventilation, natural lighting, an environment that promotes natural behaviors and protects the hens, and space requirements per hen in the barn. What about free range? A term that probably conjures images of hens that are out on the “range.” That’s not necessarily the case. The USDA definition of free range states, “Free range eggs must be produced by cage-free hens housed in a building, room, or area that allows for unlimited access to food, water, and continuous access to the outdoors during their laying cycle.” The biggest confusion comes about due to these five words: “continuous access to the outdoors.”
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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