Should you spend twice as much to buy organic eggs because they are ‘supposed’ to be healthier and more nutritionally dense?
Eggs are nature’s perfect food. So you wouldn’t be wrong in wanting only the best for you and your family. It is true that organic foods are usually healthier because they are wholesome and free from toxins found in pesticides and insecticides.
However, when it comes to store bought eggs, there is no guarantee that certified organic eggs are going to be any better than regular eggs, according to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
And we’ll explain why organic eggs are not necessarily worth the extra cost!
Understanding the Meaning of Certified Organic
Certified Organic Eggs mean that the chicken producing the eggs are given an organic, all vegetarian diet. On the other hand, farm-fed chicken are usually given a feed that is laced with antibiotics to reduce chances of infections. Also, these chickens are exposed to pesticides and insecticides through their regular grain and insect diet.
While this is good because it means the chicken aren’t pumped with antibiotics and also do not have any exposure to pesticides found in regular feed, it also limits their diet and not necessarily in a healthy way. This is because insects are an important part of all-natural diet for chicken and affects the nutritional density of the eggs they produce. To make matters worse, there are other contenders in the market today.
Apart from organic and regular, you also have ‘free-range’ variety. These are eggs from chicken that are fed an organic diet, are allowed to roam in the sunlight and peck the ground instead of being stashed away in cages, and are hence living in an all-natural, 100% humane, perfect environment.
As a result, these eggs are also far more expensive. However, the question remains – are these eggs worth paying more? And the honest answer is – Not always.
The Truth about Supermarket Organic Eggs
It’s completely true that Organic Eggs are comparatively free of antibiotic residues, with no exposure to pesticide laced feed, and are probably higher in Omega 3-fatty acids. However, this rule only applies to eggs produced by chicken from a highly reliable breeder.
Additionally, the fact that these chicken live in such tight quarters and are not given any antibiotics to prevent infections and spur growth does further negatively affect the quality of their health, as well as the nutritional density of the eggs they produce.
Hens that are fed an all-organic diet and not allowed to roam free do not get any grub and insects in their diet, which means they produce eggs with a drastically reduced nutritional value.
Chicken are not vegetarian by nature, they eat worms crawling on the ground. In that regard, farm-fed chicken that are given a controlled feed comprising of regular grain and insect grub mix end up producing higher quality eggs.
Things get worse when you take cage-free chicken into consideration. The study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that these chickens are allowed to roam free and peck the ground anywhere, hence increasing their exposure to dangerous environmental contaminants. These free-range chickens have higher levels of PCBs when compared to regular caged chicken. Also, if the ground they peck was ever treated with DDT or other dangerous pesticides, the traces are left behind in the chickens and hence the eggs they produce during their lifetime.
Organic Eggs do come with a lot of benefits, but only if you are buying them from a trustworthy local farmer and not your local grocery store. If you don’t know any local farmers, you are probably much better off with regular eggs.
Eggs from pasteurized chicken that are fed an all organic diet are healthier with a high nutritional content, and also less likely to contain salmonella strains. However, organic eggs sold at supermarket are usually put through additional treatments for cleaning and processing, thereby reducing their ‘health’ quotient drastically, even though they still come with a heftier price tag.
Many supermarkets also fool their customers by simply selling Brown Eggs as Organic Eggs. Here is a fun fact for you – Organic eggs are not always brown eggs! The colour of the eggs is decided by the breed of chicken they come from, not from their quality or the feed given to the chicken. Organic eggs can be both brown and white, so don’t be fooled next time.