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Free-range eggs: The unadulterated truth

 As everyone seems to have done, you must have heard terms related to food, such as “free-range”, “cage free”, “organic”, “GMO-free”, “gluten-free” and various others being bandied about over the past few years.
While they seem to be everywhere, there’s also much confusion over what these terms really mean, and whether products that carry these labels are any different to those that do not. Taking free-range eggs as an example, there are individuals who are adamant about purchasing them over regular eggs due to health and cruelty concerns.

The reasons for this are numerous. The first argument is that free-range eggs are more humane than regular, industrially-produced eggs. Furthermore, the hens that are laying the free-range eggs are not allowed to be kept in cages and are free to walk, nest and live naturally.

Free-range hens are also fed certified organic grains, which are legally required to contain ingredients that are free of pesticides, fertilizers or dyes.

By simply looking at these conditions that are set out for an egg to be considered free-range , it immediately becomes apparent that hens that are kept in such a way have a much better life than hens that are kept in industrial conditions.

While the humane aspect with regard to the hens’ welfare isn’t really debatable, the effect that free range rearing has on the nutritional value of the eggs produced is. Studies have shown that there’s a lower incidence of salmonella concentration in free-range eggs. Such eggs also tend to be free from traces of pesticides, fertilizer and dye.

With that being said, there’s no scientific evidence to conclude that free-range eggs are in any way more beneficial for human health than those produced on an industrial scale. The only considerable difference was that free-range eggs were observed to contain more fat than industrially-produced ones.

Nevertheless, free-range egg advocates will immediately cite the rich yolk color as their main reason for making their purchase. While free-range eggs tend to be an intense orange, industrially farmed eggs tend to be bright yellow.

Considering all of the above, it appears that argument for seeking out free-range eggs is a humane one, as opposed to a nutritional one. It’s true that free-range eggs may look better than regular ones, but the only valid reason why you’d seek them out is if you’re genuinely concerned for the welfare of the hens that are producing them for you.

See the difference between the two egg types in the video below:


Content and image source: Tip Hero

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