An egg is an egg, right? Wrong! These days the shelves in supermarkets are bombarded with every kind of egg imaginable. In this post we will discuss the different terms used by the egg industry.
From organic to free range, grain fed to omega 3-enriched eggs, different terms are used by the egg industry according to the type of production system that is used.
Organic eggs are eggs produced by hens fed an organic diet
Chickens that produce organic eggs are fed on grains and pulses that are grown without pesticides, chemical fertilisers or any other genetically engineered products.
Free range refers to hens that are not raised in coops or cages
They are instead allowed to roam over larger areas of land. The chickens that lay free range eggs are exposed to sunlight and grass pastures and they have room to scratch, flap and bath in the dust. Barn eggs are produced by chickens that live inside a barn, but are not kept in cages. Barn eggs are laid by chickens that are fed a vegetarian diet of grains and pulses.
There is no nutritional difference between organic, free range and normally produced eggs
However, these eggs are generally more expensive because of the added costs involved in production, though some people prefer organic and/or free range eggs for ethical reasons or in support of the sustainable organic production of foods.
Grain-fed chickens do not eat commercial feeds, which can include fish and chicken meal
These eggs are not free range, and not necessarily barn eggs either. The chickens may be kept in cages.
Commercial eggs are the cheapest eggs to buy, and thus make up the bulk of the eggs consumed in the country. The chickens are kept indoors inside cages. They are fed with meal, which includes commercially farmed grains and pulses and processed fish and/or chicken.
Omega 3-enriched eggs contain only a small amount of omega-3 when compared to rich sources of omega-3 such as fatty fish
These eggs are produced by adding various nutrients to the hens feed. In all honesty these eggs are not worth the higher cost. Omega 3 fats, which are excellent for brain functioning, the immune and nervous systems and healthy hearts, are found in oily fish. The hens that lay these eggs are fed salmon oil as part of their diet. Omega 3-enriched eggs are not necessarily free range.
As a last note, it is important to know that the colour of the egg shell has nothing to do with the nutritional value, flavour, or quality of the egg. Different breeds of hens as well as different hen feeds simply produce different coloured eggs.