Farm & Garden

Update: Decoding Your Egg Carton

May 09 2012 - 9:53 AM

Brown eggsMarly Schuman wrote a fantastic post here back in January outlining some of the terms you may see on your grocery store egg carton: organic, brown, cage-free, etc. It got a lot of us talking about where we buy our eggs and what we look for on the packaging.

Rodale, the company that publishes Men’s Health and Organic Gardening, among others, has a handy post about some other egg labeling terms like “pastured,” “certified humane,” and “omega-3 enriched.”

It’s worth clicking through to see which terms are actually third-party verified and which are just marketing claims. But it can also complicate the matter, because even third-party approval might not guarantee all the health or humane benefits that we imagine it does. For example, most eggs could be labeled “United Egg Producers Certified,” but all that means is that the eggs were “certified” by a group created by the egg industry itself, and the chickens could still have been treated with antibiotics and kept in battery cages.

So let’s get the discussion going again: Do these terms mean anything to you? Is it worth your time (and maybe extra money) to search for eggs from antibiotic-free, pastured, humanely raised hens? Or are all these labels just chicken scratch anyway?

–Kate Bernot