Caged, barn-laid, free range or organic? What’s the difference between this types of eggs. There is a mountain of information around about egg types and surprisingly an organic egg in the USA has very different regulations to an organic egg in Australia.
I should think I am going to find this as I delve more into this blog series researching the various different food categories. We will concentrate on the Australian regulations, but we will include links to various regulatory egg websites from around the globe.
85% of hens laying eggs in Australia live in a cage (they produce 90% of all eggs). In supermarkets these eggs are simply labelled ?eggs?, some farms like to use descriptive words for their eggs like ?farm eggs? or ?country fresh eggs? but that?s just to deceive you. These hens can just about stand up in cages, unable to turn, let alone do what any normal chicken would want to do; flapping wings, scratching the dirt, bathing in the dust or even have a stretch. Because of the limited space they damage their skin and feathers and suffer from bone breakages. Some hens are de-beaked so they don?t peck each other, half of the upper beak and one third of the lower beak is cut off.
Barn laid hens have a bit more space to do stretch and scratch around but never experience the sun on their feathers. They live in large barns and are divided into pens containing about 1000 birds and the occasional beak trim may happen to stop the chickens from eating each other to death.
Free range hens are free to roam in a large area outside. It seems though at the moment this area of egg laying is not heavily regulated and last year the media reported that 50% of eggs labelled ?free range? were actually cage laid eggs. However the Australia Egg corporation has developed a new quality assurance program for producers to reassure consumers.
be able to range more freely than free range hens! They must also have shelter provided from the weather and predators. To top that off the can only eat certified organic food ? even free range hens eat the same GM pellets that cage hens eat.
Here are some interesting eggy links that explores this topic further:
EggIndustry.com – Egg Labelling in the USA
Soil Association – Certification rules for eggs
Egg Cruelty.com – More information (and photos and videos) on battery farms
Please also add any of your egg related stories to our comments section.