Are organic eggs that come from big agribusiness living up to real organic standards? This article explores the topic of how supermarket eggs are produced.
These days there are many food items carrying the organic label. As a consumer it is hard to know what is really organic and what you are just paying extra for. Eggs are one of those items.
Big agribusiness is booming. It is a multi-million dollar industry.
The Cornucopia Institute states in the Sept 26, 2010 Cornucopia News article entitled Scrambled Eggs: Report Spotlights “Systemic” Abuses in Organic Egg Production:
“Eighty percent of all organic eggs are produced by a handful of operations. Most of these businesses own hundreds of thousands to millions of birds and market a percentage of their produce as ‘specialty eggs,’ one of which is organic.”
Recent salmonella outbreaks are likely coming from the methods in which large agribusiness is raising hens.
Based on Cornucopia Institute’s research it seems that the industry that brings most of the organic eggs to the market are not following organic standards.
Even with the USDA-certified organic logo stamped on their eggs these companies have found loopholes to slip through.
Fact and fiction of free-range
Organic free-range chickens to the average consumer conjures up images of chickens running freely in a field pecking about for worms and bugs. But agribusiness considers free-range for their chickens to mean a tiny enclosed porch that is about 4% of the main building housing the hens. This is hardly free-range.
The hens are fed a diet of organic soy, corn, and cottonseed meal. They are also given synthetic additives in their diet. Somehow this allows the eggs the hens produce to get the organic label.
Real organic eggs can still be found
Your best bet is to avoid organic free-range eggs that come from the supermarket. The very best eggs you could possibly get come from your own backyard or from local family farms in your community.
The majority of small family farms are going to over-comply with organic standards and regulations.
These farms often have a much smaller flock of chickens to work with and tend to care about the quality of the eggs they produce.
If you are unsure of where to find a small family farm, the internet can provide useful information on where to look. Also local food co-ops might be able to point you in the right direction.
Raising your own organic free-range eggs
It may seem a little difficult to raise your own chickens, but it is relatively easy even with a busy schedule. 1 or 2 chickens can produce a surprising amount of eggs. They are easy to keep and do not require tons of attention. Again the internet can provide a wealth of information to get you started raising your own chickens.