Free range eggs are slowly gaining popularity among today’s consumers. From the many health benefits they offer to the social awareness they promote, it isn’t a wonder why more and more people are starting to shy away from their regular, factory counterparts.
Free range eggs, as studies have shown, have more levels of Vitamins A, E and D and have less cholesterol content than eggs you buy from your local grocery store. What’s more is that buying free range eggs does not only support the livelihood of local farmers but condemns the inhumane acts of animal cruelty as well. While the latter is still up for debate as organizations from both sides argue as to whether or not free range eggs are morally superior to battery ones, the health benefits alone are enough to entice anyone to make the move and switch over. Are you one of them?
- Check labels. In order to check which eggs to get, it is important to know the different terminologies egg producers use and what they mean because labels can most often than not be either confusing or misleading. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic seal, for example, can only be seen on organic eggs and not on free range ones. Free range ones, on the other hand, are different from the cage-free kind for the simple reason that while both of them are defined as chickens that are out of cages, the former have access to farmyards unlike the latter ones. The term “United Egg Producers Certified,” might have a positive ring to it but in actuality, it’s only a nice euphemism for producers that give nothing but food and water to their caged hens.
- So as a general rule, make it a point to find eggs that are Animal Welfare approved. It is also wise to stay away from terms that are unregulated and therefore, meaningless such as: Natural, Naturally Raised, No Hormones and No Antibiotics. Remember that as with all labels it is very easy to claim one thing when it really means another so it’s best to examine each egg carton carefully.
- Buy from trusted sources. There are two ways to find free range eggs in your area. One is by going to popular health-stores like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. And two, is by visiting online sites like www.apppa.org and www.localharvest.org that have search engines dedicated to help you locate a nearby Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, farmers’ markets, and even co-ops.
- Raise your own. Raising chickens can be daunting but if you’re up to the challenge and as long as your area permits it, why not?
Switching to free range eggs is something you and your family can get used to. With one single step, not only will you add more nutrients to your family’s diet but you also get to help farmers and save chickens from being caged. Although you might find their prices a little more expensive than the regular ones, when you think about it, free range eggs can actually help you save money in the long run. So what else are you waiting for? Go make that move now!