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Why are eggs so costly and that are finest? Cracking the code on carton labels – Orange County Register

If eggs are an everyday staple in your family, you’ve most likely observed that the worth of a dozen eggs seems to have doubled within the final 12 months or so. An outbreak of avian influenza – also called chook flu – killed tens of millions of egg-laying chickens nationwide, resulting in a severe egg scarcity. Whereas grocery shops are now not out of eggs, the upper costs stay.

The price of a dozen grade-A eggs at a typical grocery retailer in Southern California can vary from $3.00 to a whopping $10.00. Contemplating eggs value greater than ever, are the dearer eggs price it? What do the labels on the egg carton even imply? There are widespread misconceptions about egg labeling, so let’s crack the code to the which means of widespread egg carton labels.

Egg Grading

Eggs are graded on a scale of AA, A or B. Eggs are graded on look and the firmness of the white with AA being the very best high quality. Usually, grocery store eggs are graded A, which is okay for baking and cooking.


Whereas cage-free could sound like an enchancment within the remedy of chickens, it merely implies that the chickens will not be stored in cages. They could nonetheless be packed tight in confined hen homes with no entry to the outside or daylight.


Eggs labeled free-range are produced by chickens that should have entry to the outside not less than six hours per day and have two sq. toes of house per chook. There aren’t any necessities concerning the circumstances of the outside house.


Pasture-raised eggs are produced by chickens which were raised in a vegetation-covered pasture with 108 sq. toes per rooster for no less than six hours per day. Chickens are fed solely grains with out animal byproducts and are free to eat the bugs and seeds of their pure surroundings. Pasture-raised eggs are Humane Farm Animal Care licensed, a non-profit certification group.

Because of the superior weight-reduction plan of pasture-raised chickens, the eggs they produce are identified to have higher taste and considerably better dietary worth, together with extra vitamin D, vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E.

Licensed natural

Natural certification is regulated by america Division of Agriculture and implies that chickens have entry to the outside and are fed a feed that doesn’t include genetically modified organisms, antibiotics or animal byproducts.


As with licensed natural eggs, eggs labeled antibiotic-free got here from hens that haven’t obtained antibiotics of their feed or water in line with the U.S. Poultry & Egg Affiliation. Nevertheless, these eggs could not qualify for an natural certification on account of different components.

Pure or Farm-fresh

Phrases like “pure” and “farm recent” are unregulated. These phrases could also be added to meals labels, together with the packaging of eggs, however don’t impart any essential which means or worth.

Total, eggs are a nutrient-dense meals; nevertheless, omega-3-enriched and lutein-enhanced eggs are seemingly one of the best eggs for his or her additional dietary worth. Nutrient enrichment and enhancement of eggs is a separate label from these associated to the remedy of hens.

There are essential components to contemplate when selecting one of the best eggs for you and your loved ones. Extra nutritious eggs from humanely handled hens could have one of the best style, but in addition the very best value. These are all essential components to contemplate when buying eggs. Remember that financial savings could also be achieved when buying cartons of 18 eggs as a substitute of a dozen. Store round and examine costs at totally different markets and use coupons to get one of the best value. If any of your neighbors have chickens, you might be able to rating a very good deal or a barter for recent, native eggs.

LeeAnn Weintraub, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian, offering vitamin counseling and consulting to people, households and organizations. She will be reached by e-mail at RD@halfacup.com.

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