In light of the ginor-mongous recall on eggs issued last week, CNN's Eatocracy published a great article that "eggs-plained" the 3 types of eggs available to us. I added a couple other types to cover what we might encounter at supermarkets.

Free Range:
"The USDA does not specify the quality or size of the outside range nor the duration of time an animal must have access to the outside or the amount of space available to them, and there is no mandate that the chickens are fed organically or are hormone and antibiotic-free.
While some egg producers are truly free-range, and the chickens remain outdoors for a good deal of the time, there is nothing preventing a factory farm from labeling eggs as free range, merely because the structure in which the chickens live has a door to an outside yard.
As author Michael Pollan notes in 'The Omnivore's Dilemma' ..."Since the food and water remain inside the shed, and since the little doors remain shut until the birds are at least five weeks old and well settled into their habits, the chickens apparently see no reason to venture into what must seem for them an unfamiliar and terrifying world." There's a very good chance that a free-range chicken, raised for either eggs or meat, has never seen the light of day." 
"There isn't a legal designation eggs as cage free. Many factory farms keep their laying hens in so-called "battery cages" - typically rows and rows of wire cages in which chickens are given insufficient room to accommodate their wingspan.
In a cage-free facility, battery cages are not used, and typically a hen will have enough room to walk around and extend her wings, but the facilities may still be crowded, and birds may still be "debeaked." This entails the trimming of a portion of a bird's beak in order to combat cannibalism and feather pecking that may occur among birds kept in close quarters.
In July, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed A.B. 1437 into effect, making California the cage-free state in the US."
"For eggs to be labeled "organic,"... [hens] must be fed organic feed - no animal byproducts or genetically modified or "GMO" crops - produced on land that has been free from the use of toxic and persistent chemical pesticides and fertilizers for a minimum of three years.
The hens themselves must be maintained without hormones and other intrusive drugs and antibiotics may only be used in cases in cases of outbreak or disease. They're also kept in a cage-free environment and allowed access to the outdoors."
Gucci, YSL, and the likes haven't tapped into the egg industry (monogrammed eggshells?). Designer eggs, also known as value-added eggs, are those that have been designed and modified to contain more nutrients. The most common being omega-3 or vitamin E added eggs. Keep in mind that the chicken feed only increases "boosted nutrients" in the yolk. So if you're a "yolk tosser", splurging on designer eggs is simply money down the drain.
Brown vs. White:
The age old debate. Nutritionally, there is no difference between brown eggs and white eggs. The colors only indicate the breed of the hen. Brown eggs tend to cost more because they're usually from larger hens that eat more but produce fewer eggs.
To avoid getting foodborne illness from eggs, rinse all eggs when you bring them home from the store. Then keep them on fridge shelves (as opposed to the side door) where the temperature doesn't fluctuate as much. Of course, thoroughly cook both egg whites and yolks to kill all bacteria.

Quoted excerpts from CNN's food blog Eatocracy. Visit the site for the article in its entirety.

Photo credit: timyoung.net 


delwin said...

I seriously did not know there were "Designer" eggs.

claytonhcarlson@gmail.com said...

I am in the middle of reading An Omnivore's Dilemma, and was super concerned to learn how number 2 corn contains everything from organic to heavily GMO corn....which is all fed to the chickens....when ends up in me. Do something about this E-Lizzle!

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