Not all eggs are created equal because not all hens are raised equally. That’s why there are so many types of eggs and why some are healthier than others. If you’ve ever stood in the egg section of your local store and wondered about the difference between “cage free” and “free range” or what “organic” actually means, this article is for you.
We understand egg carton labels can be confusing. So we created the following handy guide to help you make sense of them and better understand the certifications behind those logos.
Cage Free — No hens are kept in cages but American Humane Certified rules do allow some confinement of the birds.
Free Range — Hens must go outside during the day and have an outdoor area with a minimum of two square feet per bird.
Organic — Hens must go outside during the day, have at least two square feet of outdoor space per bird, and eat certified organic feed. Also, the land is not treated with any synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers.
Pasture Raised — With this certification, hens must be outdoors year-round on rotated fields of vegetation. This gives hens constant access to fresh grass to roam freely and forage naturally for insects. Hen houses can be fixed or mobile as long as the grazing area is rotated regularly. The certification also requires hens to have at least 108 square feet of outdoor space per bird.
Omega-3 — These eggs are laid by hens fed a diet that includes flax seed, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These acids are then absorbed into the eggs making them even healthier. Eggs with omega-3s promote strong bones, brain function, and heart health by helping to lower blood pressure.
Non-GMO Verified — These eggs are laid by hens that eat feed that is tested and verified to contain no genetically-modified ingredients.
Vegetarian Fed — This certification applies to eggs laid by hens fed a vegetarian diet containing no animal byproducts. It also allows for hens to forage for worms and insects for additional nutrients.
For more information about all Wilcox egg types, see the following pages or contact us with questions.