Wednesday, July 20, 2011

CLUCK ASKS: Are Those Pasture Eggs Really Any Better?

CLUCK has read articles asserting that when a taster is blindfolded, store-bought battery cage eggs cannot be distinguished from backyard or pasture eggs. That may or may not be true, but without the blindfold most people prefer the free-range eggs because their yellow-orange yolks look so much better than the anemic yellow of most store-bought eggs. 

But beyond appearance and flavor is the question of whether there is actually any nutritional difference. And apparently there is.
Mother Earth News collected eggs from 14 flocks that either ranged on pasture or were housed in movable pens that had access to pasture. Then, probably because they knew their results would be suspect, they sent them off to an independent lab in Portland Oregon. The results were significant.
The article (click here to read it) points out that the egg industry uses misleading terms to obfuscate reality. According to Mother Earth News the egg industry can "label their eggs as “free-range” even if all they do is leave little doors open on their giant sheds, regardless of whether the birds ever learn to go outside, and regardless of whether there is good pasture or just bare dirt or concrete outside those doors!"

That's not what most consumers assume when they see "free-range" on the carton. To see the range of nutritional values from the 14 flocks, check out the table below. If you click on it, it should enlarge.

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