educate themselves. Simply looking for the term "Organic" does
not guarantee a good product.
The Industry Labels†
|Our chickens are:
Fed certified Organic feeds
Fed pure kelp meal for a natural
Not fed any avian or mammalian
Given free access to pasture
grasses every day
(weather permitting). We
use outdoor pens and fences for predator protection
and move them regularly (every 1-7 days depending on
the pen size). They get plenty of fresh air and
Raised in accordance with the
standards set forth several different humane farm
Moved frequently from paddock to
paddock to allow grasses and insects to regenerate
and avoid over application of nitrogen to the soil.
Not subjected to the practice of
starvation to force molting.
have their beaks trimmed
The vast number of consumer labels affixed to egg cartons can
leave a shopper feeling as dazed and confused as a laying hen
trapped in a battery cage. One carton may label its eggs
"Natural." Another carton may call them "Free Range," while yet
another may claim its eggs are "Certified Organic." How are
thoughtful consumers supposed to know what these labels and
claims really mean?
The truth is that the majority of egg labels have little
relevance to animal welfare or, if they do, they have no
official standards nor any mechanism to enforce them.
Only three labels listed below are programs with
official, audited guidelines, but even those vary widely
in terms of animal welfare.
What’s Natural and
What exactly is “natural ” anyway? According to
USDA, the term “natural” means “no artificial
ingredients or colors were added, and that it was
minimally processed.” But what, then, does “artificial”
mean? And what about “minimally processed”? Right now
there are a lot more questions on this topic than there
are definitive answers. All-in-all, the term really
means next to nothing. “Natural products may still
contain GMOs, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and
growth agents which are certainly not “natural”.
Certified Organic*: The birds are uncaged inside barns or
warehouses, and are required to have outdoor access (although
there have been concerns about lax enforcement, with some
large-scale producers not providing birds meaningful access to
the outdoors). They are fed an organic, all-vegetarian diet free
of antibiotics and pesticides, as required by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program. Beak
cutting and forced molting through starvation are permitted.
Compliance is verified through third-party auditing.
Certified Organic is process oriented. Food products
produced in compliance with the standard set forth in
the USDA's National Organic Plan (N.O.P.) Producers with
less than $5000 in annual sales of organic products are
exempt from certification but MUST still comply with all
of the N.O.P. regulations including record keeping.
Pastured Poultry: While this remains a largely undefined
term, it generally means that the poultry lives close to or on
pasture, will daily access to living grasses. A high intake of
living grasses will affect the way the meat tastes, will improve
the health of the birds and can substantially affect the
nutritional value of the meat and eggs. Pasturing poultry is not
a method generally seen in large scale farms.