Sama Baby Blog

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Organic Eggs: Worth the Cost? July 14, 2010

As an office of vegetarians, we need to know the truth about our eggs! A recent Time magazine article got it wrong when it proclaimed organic eggs are no healthier than factory-farmed eggs, and here’s why. (source http://www.rodale.com)

Don’t be mislead: There are good reasons to choose organic eggs.

Organic eggs are no healthier than factory-farmed eggs and are thus not worth the extra costs, concludes an article recently run in Time magazine. But the article’s author is missing some major benefits of organic eggs—such as the fact that they’re higher in omega-3 fatty acids, are free of antibiotic residues, and contain no arsenic, which is added to factory-farmed chicken-feed to prevent infections and spur growth.

The article was based on a new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) study finding that different production methods—factory-farmed, cage-free, and free-roaming—all met the same quality standards.

Yet, the author’s conclusions that organic eggs are no healthier than conventional, and that the way they’re raised is dangerous and not worth the added cost, run far afield of the research, misinterpreting the study’s primary finding.

#1: The test used in the USDA study is a measure of egg quality, not nutrition. The study used something called the Haugh unit, a scale between 0 to 110 that basically lets producers know whether or not the egg is stale (the lower the number, the lower the quality).  The Time article made the assumption that Haugh unit is somehow indicative of nutritional value, when in fact, the USDA’s definition of Haugh unit mentions nothing about an egg’s nutritional content.

#2: “Free-roaming” and “cage-free” aren’t the same as “organic.” The USDA study didn’t specify organic as one of the production methods they studied, but the author continually refers to “organic” eggs as though the authors had. Unlike “USDA Organic,” “free-range” and “cage-free” are unsubstantiated claims that aren’t verified by independent third parties—any producer can slap those labels on a carton of eggs without any evidence that his or her chickens roam free or live outside cages.

#3: Shell color doesn’t matter. On this one point, the author is right. “Another mistake some health-conscious consumers make…is believing that the color of an egg makes a difference and that brown shells are somehow better than white ones. They’re not. Color is determined entirely by the breed of chicken laying it,” he writes. And that’s true. But store-bought eggs generally come from one type of chicken, while organically raised eggs you might find at a farmer’s market come from different heritage breeds.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Look for the USDA Organic seal, and find a local farmer who can attest to healthy living conditions for his poultry.

These are just some of the mail points found in the article @Rodale.com. TO read the entire article CLICK HERE

Balance, Serenity, Fashion, SAMA

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