Tuesday, September 30, 2008

This is very egg-citing!!

Thanks to a great neighborly recommendation, I have recently been checking out a website called The Eat Well Guide. They compile great information so that you can be an informed food consumer. It is difficult to know what the real deal is with all of these labels that we see in our local grocery. It seems that everything now is labeled "sustainable" or "environmentally- friendly" or "organic" or a million other things. What do these labels mean? Is there any truth to them? and will we be healthier for adhering to them?

Well, the truth is there are a lot of labels so use this guide to help become educate yourself. There are certain labels that are regulated and certain that aren't: know which are and aren't so you can make the right choices for you and your family. I have spoken to many nutritionists on the subject of organic and every one of them tells me that eating foods labeled organic is essential to healthy living. Get those chemicals out of our bodies!!

Here is a blurb about what the Eat Well Guide is all about:

The Eat Well Guide is a free online directory of thousands of family farms, restaurants, markets and other outlets of fresh, locally-grown food throughout the United States and Canada. Visitors simply enter a zip or postal code to find good food and create free printable booklets. Originally a database of sustainably-raised meat, poultry, eggs and dairy, Eat Well Guide listings have expanded over the years to include farmers' markets, CSA programs, local advocacy organizations, and vegetarian/vegan restaurants. Many listings are also accompanied by water conscious ratings.

Here are some great things to look for when buying Eggs...now you can chuckle a little because of my hilarious, clever title:

Cage Free:

Cage Free simply means that egg-laying hens are not confined to battery cages (67 square inches of space) where they are denied their natural behaviors such as perching, spreading their wings and nesting. However, birds can also be called cage-free without ever being outdoors or “on pasture”. The USDA does not regulate this label. “Cage Free” must be differentiated from “Free Range”, a term that is defined by the USDA and used for poultry (chickens raised for consumption rather than egg-laying).

All Natural:

The “all natural” label, although quite popular, is not regulated by the US government or verified by third party inspectors. The Food Safety and Inspection Service of the USDA states that “natural” is defined by a product “containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed (a process which does not fundamentally alter the raw product)” and it must explain the use of the term by stating on its label phrases such as “no added colorings or artificial ingredients”, etc.

No Antibiotics or Hormones Administered:

These labels are defined by the USDA, but only for poultry, pork, beef and red meat, not eggs. Consequently there are no controlled guidelines or verification by third party inspectors.

Omega-3 of 225mg in Each Egg:

With the increasing awareness of the nutrient value of Omega-3 fatty acids, an increasing number of egg cartons contain this label. Most often it means that the hens were given a diet rich in flax seed – a good source of this fat. DHA, a type of Omega-3 fatty acid is also labeled similarly.

Vegetarian Fed/Organic Vegetarian Feed:

Again, this label is not defined by the USDA. Vegetarian fed simply means that the hens were given a diet containing no animal by-products. Grains (e.g. corn, wheat), silage, hay and similar vegetarian feed is common. Vegetarian fed does not guarantee that antibiotics or pesticides were not used in the production of the feed or that the feed was not genetically modified. Organic vegetarian feed, on the contrary, does.

75 mcg of Folic Acid:

Folate, a vital B vitamin, especially necessary for a healthy pregnancy, is present in eggs (mainly in the yolk). However, similar to the development of Omega-3 eggs, egg producers have opted to enrich eggs with folic acid by supplementing feed. Therefore, instead of the 24 mcg or so of folic acid you may receive from a standard egg, enriched eggs contain three times as much

Go out and get egg-static about buying eggs! (ok, I'll stop.)


Erica said...

learn more about the hard-boiled of egg production in the US and how you can demand truth in labeling on egg cartons. Visit: