Food Myths Nutrition

Are Your Organic Eggs Really Organic?

pasture raised eggs

A recent study by the Cornucopia Institute revealed that many of the supposedly organic, free-range, sustainably-produced eggs on the market are actually far from the true meaning of organic.  The study examined hundreds of egg farms all over the country and found that many of them aren’t caring for their hens in the way that the National Organic Program requires.

The Cornucopia Institute created an Organic Egg Scorecard, on which you can see if the eggs you’re buying live up to the standards you expect.  An egg rating of “5” is best and “1” is worst.  Unfortunately, almost all of the private label organic eggs (a.k.a. grocery store brands, even Whole Foods, Wild Harvest, and other natural grocers) were rated at a 1, which means they are likely produced on huge industrial farms that do not grant hens proper access to outdoors or other natural, healthy conditions.  Here is just a small glimpse of the scorecard:

organic eggs

See here how your organic eggs fare.

If the eggs you’ve been buying rate poorly on this scale, look for any of the brands who rated a 4 or 5 on this scale, or buy the pasture-raised organic eggs for sale at your local store or farmer’s market.

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  • Kath
    September 2, 2012 at 8:59 am

    As always, your posts are so informative!

  • Danielle
    September 3, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    I feel like nothing is as is seems anymore. It’s super overwhelming making the right choices as it is and now there is so much dishonesty!

  • shelley hudson
    September 3, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Wow. As you know, I’m a vegetarian. I include some dairy in my diet for nutritional reasons (because of the complete protein) and also because of my love of baked goods. I always buy organic dairy so I don’t consume the hormones and antibiotics that are routinely used in non-organic foods, however. I’m very concerned about the inhumane conditions suffered by “food” animals, so I go a step further when buying eggs and only choose “cage free.” I’m so disappointed that I’ve probably been eating eggs from mistreated birds, if I’m to believe the data in this study. Yuck! I checked the list, and the highest-rated Vital Farms eggs are available at my local Whole Foods. I’ll look for those. Thank you so much for this info!

  • Amelia
    September 4, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Glad you found it helpful, Kath!

  • Amelia
    September 4, 2012 at 7:55 am

    You are so right, Danielle. Everyday we are faced with what seem like huge decisions about food. Even I get tired just thinking about grocery shopping! In the end, we can just do our best. And try to buy local, since it’s easier to know your food that way.

  • Amelia
    September 4, 2012 at 7:55 am

    I know, who knew?!

  • veronika jackson
    August 6, 2017 at 7:29 am

    Meijer has the True Goodness brand which I cant find anything about the animals themselves if there have been cruelty cases or how they are treated and raised. I buy their eggs but want to know if the True Goodness eggs are cruelty free. I can’t find them on that list at all. Am i just not seeing it?

  • Amelia Winslow
    August 22, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Hi Veronika, I’ve never seen True Goodness (it might be a Meijer store brand) but looks like the eggs are organic. This by definition means the hens get some time outside and are cage-free. However, doesn’t look like the hens get access to pasture, so if you have any pasture-raised egg options in your supermarket, you could give those a try instead. Either way these are better than conventional eggs!

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