Farm Fresh Vs. Free Range Vs. Organic Eggs: What’s The Difference
… only part of its time outside (This is what’s required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture). The official governance reads as such, “Producers must demonstrate to the Agency that the poultry has been allowed access to the outside.”
When you hear the term, you probably think of a wide open field where chickens are allowed to peck at grass and insects as please. But, think again.
However, around 99.9 percent of chickens raised for meat in the United States are raised in factory farm conditions. So, rather than just having a few birds to keep track of, the typical factory farm “farmer” has around 20,000 to look after. Usually, these birds are confined to warehouses, where they may technically have access to a door that leads to designated outdoor area, but because of the mass crowding of birds – it is highly likely that many will never see the daylight during their extremely short lifetimes.
In addition, chickens who are labeled “free-range” are also subjected to painful industry practices such as debeaking, which involves searing off the sensitive tip of the chicken’s beak without pain-killers.
IV. Organic Eggs
If the packaging says “organic” in the U.S., it means that the chickens were fed an organic diet – no antibiotics (unless the chickens were sick), and the chickens must live in a cage free and free range environment. So antibiotics aren’t used unless they have to.
Another thing to consider is that with all the other chickens I’ve previously mentioned, forced molting (where egg producers starve the chickens for some time to force chicken’s natural replacement of old feathers by new ones) is allowed. However, with organic eggs, only natural molting can occur.
V. Pastured Eggs
Pastured eggs are from chickens that are raised in a pasture and have access to coops to sleep at night. Typically, these chickens get to spend most of their times outside and eat bugs like chickens are meant to. Unfortunately, pastured eggs are harder to find in your typical supermarket/grocery store, but if you have access to pastured eggs from local farmers, be sure to get on that.