Walk into the supermarket these days, and you’re thrown in a million different directions. With a whole ton of marketing and not much explanation following it, it can be easy to be confused by food labels, packaging, pricing, colors, names, and more.
In an ideal world, good nourishment would be easy, not confusing, and supermarkets would be filled with delicious, easily describable food that is good for your body and soul. Because reality is more difficult than that, we’re here to help.
First stop? The egg aisle. These versatile, protein-packed orbs of deliciousness range from go-to breakfast staple to decadent brunch creation to dinner side and everything in between. So how did they suddenly get so confusing? Free range? Pasture-fed? All natural? What do these labels mean, and how can we decipher them in a way that’s best for our health and the environment?
We think the only difficult decision you should have to make with your eggs is whether you’ll scramble, fry, or poach. Below, you’ll find some common labels that have made their way onto cartons of eggs in the last few years. But what do they really mean?
This is the most rigorously regulated label of them all; there are over 90 organic certification agencies around the globe policing these standards. Organically labeled food must follow a variety of rules, including maintaining ecological balance and biodiversity, as well as not using synthetic fertilizers. Organic eggs specifically come from free-range chickens, who were not given growth hormones.
This indicates that the chickens are provided shelter indoors and unlimited access to food, water, and the outdoors. The outdoor area may be fenced.
These chickens are not confined to cages, but rather may freely roam a building or room. They also must have unlimited access to food and water.
These eggs are “minimally processed and contain no artificial ingredients.” It is important to note that this label only applies to meat and egg products; “natural” labels on other foods are not regulated.
These animals had continuous, free access to the outdoors for a large portion of their lives. They must not have been confined for any long period of time.
This has always been a rule for poultry, pork, and goat, so eggs have never been allowed to contain hormones according to federal rules.
There is no USDA definition for this term.
And what about a simpler, age-old question… brown eggs or white? The jury’s still out on this one. Neither the brown egg nor the white egg has been proven to be a healthier choice than the other; they simply come from different breeds of chicken. The bottom line: go with whichever you prefer.
What food labels are confusing to you? How do you decipher the labels in the egg aisle? We’d love to hear your thoughts!
Share and Enjoy