how to choose a good egg

Posted by in nutrition, Uncategorized

Fresh-Free-Range-Organic-Chicken-EggsHealth benefits of eggs

Eggs are a fabulous food, as they are nutritious, versatile and quick. Not only are eggs a perfect source of protein, they also contain nutrients that are beneficial to the eyes, hair, brain and nervous system.

Eggs are a good source of antioxidants, fat soluble vitamins A and D, the essential fatty acid omega 3. They also contain the amino acid tryptophan and B vitamins, for a healthy nervous system.

Contrary to popular belief, eggs are actually good for the heart and cardiovascular system. Research now shows that they have a protective effect against blood, clots, heart attacks and strokes and their dietary cholesterol content, does not raise unhealthy cholesterol levels in the body.

 

Choosing quality eggs

When choosing quality eggs, unfortunately the current labelling laws in Australia prevent us from being able to make honest and informed choices.

There is much corruption in the system and consumer fraud, as supermarkets attempt to meet the needs of there customers, who wish to by humane eggs, by putting pressure on the suppliers to produce large volumes of eggs, that they can use for their private labels.

Current discussions are taking place between small and large egg producers, animal welfare agencies and government about national egg production standards.

Hopefully the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will make a move towards regulating the egg industry nationally.

 

Understanding egg lingo

Free-range
Birds are housed in sheds, with access to an outdoor range, unfortunately this range varies greatly from around 1,500 birds per hectare, to 20,000 per hectare.

In 2013, a farm in Young, NSW was found to have around 80,000 “free range” hens in an area of 1.6 ha. They were forced to cull half of the birds, due to an outbreak of bird flu.

The Queensland government approved an increase in free-range layer hen stocking densities in July 2013, from 1,500 to 10,000.

Coles and Woolworths have been selling free-range labelled eggs that come from farms with 10,000 birds per hectare.

Free range doesn’t mean the hens have been fed any differently from caged birds, they could be eating the same animal-derived products, or genetically modified grains that’s usually fed to cage birds.

Organic
These are the most expensive choice for eggs, however if they are certified organic, you can be sure that the hens are fed quality, non-gm feed, which ensures natural egg producing cycles. They are also free to wander on pasture, unlike other chickens that are kept indoors, or only let outdoors infrequently. (This includes free-range.) Organic eggs also contain higher levels of the essential omega-3 fatty acids, than other eggs.

Cage-eggs
Hens are continuously housed in cages, within a shed.

Barn laid
Birds are free to roam within a shed, which may have more than one level.

Cage free
means that chickens live entirely indoors in barns.

 

How to choose a quality egg

  • Choose third-part certified free range eggs, it will state this on the box.
  • Look for the Humane Choice logo on cartons www.humanechoice.com.au
  • Visit www.animalwelfarelabels.org.au which lists farming practices of individual egg producers.
  • Buy certified organic eggs.
  • Shop at local shops or markets, for eggs with independent free-range certification.
  • Look for “Free range pastured” or “pasture ranged organic” labels which are being used by true free-range producers.
  • Buy your own chickens.