Thursday, May 17, 2007

Sherri's Helpful Hints

Understanding Egg Labels

Free-range or free-roaming: This means that hens live out of cages in indoor facilities. These birds must have at least some access to the outside, but the time allotted is up to the farmer.

Cage-free: This means that hens can roam indoors in a barn or poultry house and generally do not have outdoor access. They are permitted to nest, walk around and spread their wings.

Certified organic: This means that the eggs come from hens that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones, as required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Organic Program.

Hormone-free: This is virtually useless because it applies to all eggs (organic and conventional). Poultry is rarely treated with hormones.

Certified humane: This means that the hens are uncaged with suitable room for nesting and perching. Certified humane is monitored by Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC), a nonprofit organization that works with the USDA to inspect and certify farms.

Natural: This also pertains to all eggs because they do not contain artificial flavors or colors.

Pasteurized: This means that the eggs have been heated to kill bacteria that may be present, but not enough to cook the egg. Pasteurized egg whites will still whip stiff, but the volume may not be as great as unpasteurized eggs.

Omega- or DHA: This means the eggs are produced by hens fed seed high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as flaxseed. The feed raises the omega-3 content in the eggs.

Vegetarian or vegetarian-fed: This means that the hens are fed a diet free of animal by-products.

No comments: