Thanks Marti for suggesting an explanation on this topic.
Chickens laying eggs that are labeled “cage-free” are un-caged and generally have a little more space than chickens inside barns and they usually have some access to the outdoors. This term does not tell us anything about the diet and whether they have been fed grains or given steroids or antibiotics.
Free-range hens aer un-caged inside barns and have outdoor access. Once again, this label does not tell us what the birds are fed (ie/ grains, hormones, antibiotics etc)
So what the heck do I buy???
Look for PASTURED EGGS—or better yet —buy from a local farmer that will share the exact diet and housing specifications of the chicken. Remember–if the animal you eat is healthy–you will be too.
Please visit our link on the side to Simpson Family Farms that now offers delivery of their grass-fed meats and chickens! They have great prices and I personally know and respect the owners! They are a real class act and are wholeheartedly aimed at providing the best nutrition to people in the community!
Here is a little information regarding the buzzwords on labels that you might find interesting. I had no idea the difference between some of these different labels and just assumed that if it said cage-free or all natural –it was a good product to buy. Wow–I did make an ass out of you and me on that one.
There is no legal definition of this term. If hens are labeled cage-free, the do have more space than caged hens but they can still be crammed inside barns or houses etc. It also doesn’t tell us anything about the hen’s diet. The best bet is to buy pastured eggs.
The USDA doesn’t have defined standards for free-range. The hens simply have access to the outdoors but, it doesn’t mean they actually see the light of day. This also doesn’t tell us anything about the hen’s diet.
Meat and dairy can be labelled grass-fed if they were fed grass for the majority of their lives. However, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t tie grains, soy, or other farming byproducts during their lifetime. You are better off looking for grass-finished products which are required to be fed grass 100% of their life. Look for grass-finished and organic on those labels.
The USDA allows this label to be placed on any minimal processed product without artificial sweeteners or additives. It does not refer to how the animal was raised and it could still be fed additives and or antibiotics. So don’t be fooled by the term “Natural”
5. No added hormones
The USDA prohibits added hormones in poultry and pork so this label may give you false confidence in the quality of the product. Beef hormone use is up to the farmer–so an organic label is a little more promising.
For more information on label reading and buzzwords visit http://whole9life.com