Carton Catch Phrases
Ever wonder what certain words on an egg carton actually mean?
The terms "organic", "free-range", and "vegetarian-fed" are all on egg cartons these days. While free-range does mean the chicken is not caged, it does not necessarily mean that the chicken roams outdoors (it only has access to open space at some point each day). A chicken's feed is what affects the nutritional quality of its eggs. The label vegetarian-fed ensure no animal by-products are fed to the chickens laying the eggs, and organic means the chicken's feed is organic.
Eggs laid by hens living in cages with access to feed, water and security. The cages serve as nesting space. In this type of hen house, the birds are more readily protected from the elements, disease and natural and unnatural predators.
Eggs produced by hens that have access to outdoors in accordance with weather, environmental or state laws. In addition to consuming a diet of grains, these hens may forage for wild plants and insects. They are provided floor space, nesting space and perches.
Eggs laid by hens at indoor floor operations, sometimes called free-roaming. The hens may roam in a building, room or open area, usually in a barn or poultry house, and have unlimited access to fresh food and water. Some may also forage for food if they are allowed outdoors. Cage-free systems vary and include barn-raised and free-range hens, both of which have shelter that helps protect against predators. Both types are produced under common handling and care practices, which provide floor space, nest space and perches. Depending on the farm, these housing systems may or may not have an automated egg collection system.
Eggs produced according to national U.S. Department of Agriculture organic standards related to methods, practices and substances used in producing and handling crops, livestock and processed agricultural products. Organic eggs are produced by hens fed rations with ingredients that were grown without most conventional pesticides, fungicides, herbicides or commercial fertilizers.
A production system that contains adequate environmental enrichments to provide perch space, dust bathing or a scratch area(s), and nest space to allow the layers to exhibit inherent behavior. Enriched colony systems are American Humane Certified.
Information provided by Incredible Edible Egg