"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > Recipes & Ingredients > Eggs, Cheese & Dairy
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 02-26-2009, 11:32 AM   #1
Cook
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Dayton, OH
Posts: 88
Send a message via AIM to CyberSlag5k
Actual Cage Free Eggs?

I buy those Eggland's Best eggs for like $3.50 per dozen, because I believe that battery caged chickens are inhuman and less healthy. However, I've heard that a lot of egg sellers just put "Cage Free" or "Free Range" on their cartons and get away with it by letting their chickens around around for an hour a week or just before they die.

Since there doesn't appear to be an FDA seal (or if there is I haven't seen it) that sets a standard for cage free products, is there a list or a website or something that says which eggs are actually cage free/free range and which aren't? I don't mind paying $4 per dozen eggs, but I want to make sure that what I'm paying for is legitimate.

Thank you.

CyberSlag5k is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2009, 11:59 AM   #2
Chef Extraordinaire
 
jennyema's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Boston and Cape Cod
Posts: 10,114
It's the USDA that regulates this.

Cage-free means they are not kept in cages. But that's it. Nothing more about how they are kept without cages.

I think you are confusing "cage free" with "free range" as written about in the book The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Free range chickens are supposed to have access to the outdoors, so they can range freely

Supposedly, some producers limit the chickens access to the outdoors. Some are said to only allow them to go out later in their life when they have no desire to do so.
__________________
Less is not more. More is more and more is fabulous.
jennyema is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2009, 12:00 PM   #3
Executive Chef
 
miniman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Basingstoke, England
Posts: 4,687
We also have barn eggs over here, where the birds are loose in the barns.
__________________
"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." - Nelson Mandela
miniman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2009, 12:02 PM   #4
Certified Pretend Chef
 
Andy M.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 46,950
I remember reading somewhere on this site that the Feds say you can call a chicken or its eggs free range if you leave the coop door open for 5 minutes a day so the chickens can go out if they want to.

I doubt that any mass marketed eggs are from chickens living some idyllic life style where they are actually free to roam around at will all day as they would have done 300 years ago (in colonial America for example).
__________________
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
Andy M. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2009, 12:09 PM   #5
Master Chef
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Culpeper, VA
Posts: 5,803
Frankly, the only way you can absolutely ensure you're getting eggs from "cage free" or "free range" hens is to purchase from someone local where you can actually see the conditions the birds are raised in.
BreezyCooking is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2009, 01:09 PM   #6
Sous Chef
 
vyapti's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Oregon
Posts: 871
Send a message via Yahoo to vyapti
Our farmer's market has eggs from locally raised chickens. I used to fork out $5 a carton for those. And I try to support local farmers whenever I can.

Unfortunately, I think what Breezy said is true. For instance, the US regulators say you can't ship peanut butter laced with salmonella. They say you can't push a cow to slaughter with a fork lift, you can't mix spinach with poo. You don't hear too much of local farm CEOs making unethical decisions to the detriment of our food supply.
__________________
myveggiekitchen.blogspot.com
vyapti is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2009, 01:17 PM   #7
Master Chef
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Culpeper, VA
Posts: 5,803
$5 a dozen - arggh. I feel for you. Around here I can get local free-range for $3.50/dozen tops. And that includes an assortment of white, brown, & blue-green (Aracauna) eggs.

I sorely miss not having my own hens as I did back in NY, but am already in the planning stages for starting up another little home flock here in VA. Those were some darn good eggs!!
BreezyCooking is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2009, 02:56 PM   #8
Cook
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Dayton, OH
Posts: 88
Send a message via AIM to CyberSlag5k
Right. Companies can get away with saying the eggs are cage free or free range, and really have them not be (yay de-regulation). But surely there must be some reputable suppliers or a watch-dog website.
CyberSlag5k is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2009, 03:22 PM   #9
Chef Extraordinaire
 
jennyema's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Boston and Cape Cod
Posts: 10,114
If they say cage free, I'll bet they aren't in cages.
__________________
Less is not more. More is more and more is fabulous.
jennyema is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2009, 03:23 PM   #10
Sous Chef
 
vyapti's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Oregon
Posts: 871
Send a message via Yahoo to vyapti
Here is a Humane Society page on egg carton labeling:

A Brief Guide to Egg Carton Labels and Their Relevance to Animal Welfare
__________________
myveggiekitchen.blogspot.com
vyapti is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2009, 05:07 PM   #11
Master Chef
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Culpeper, VA
Posts: 5,803
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema View Post
If they say cage free, I'll bet they aren't in cages.
That's not really the point. All "cage free" means is that, yes, the birds aren't technically kept confined to cages. However, instead of the cages they can legally be kept crammed beak-to-butt in dark, indoor building pens. Can they move a bit more? Yes. Is it much better than the cages? Somewhat doubtful.

All "cage free" means is just that - "cage free". It doesn't mean the quality of their lives or the quality of the eggs is much different.
BreezyCooking is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2009, 05:09 PM   #12
Cook
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Dayton, OH
Posts: 88
Send a message via AIM to CyberSlag5k
Exactly. The term is dubious. What I'm looking for is some sort of report that says "These eggs are actually cage free, the chickens can roam around all day. These eggs are actually free range, the chickens spend half of the day outside." Does that exist?
CyberSlag5k is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2009, 05:10 PM   #13
Sous Chef
 
vyapti's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Oregon
Posts: 871
Send a message via Yahoo to vyapti
Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking View Post
However, instead of the cages they can legally be kept crammed beak-to-butt in dark, indoor building pens.
Actually, they cut off the beaks
__________________
myveggiekitchen.blogspot.com
vyapti is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2009, 06:04 PM   #14
Head Chef
 
mcnerd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Southern California
Posts: 1,326
How does an egg know whether it was in a cage or not?
__________________
Support bacteria. It's the only culture some people have.
mcnerd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2009, 06:09 PM   #15
Sous Chef
 
vyapti's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Oregon
Posts: 871
Send a message via Yahoo to vyapti
The egg isn't alive, or even fertilized. It's just a menstrual cast off. The chicken knows, though.
__________________
myveggiekitchen.blogspot.com
vyapti is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2009, 06:36 PM   #16
Master Chef
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Culpeper, VA
Posts: 5,803
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnerd View Post
How does an egg know whether it was in a cage or not?
Don't start with me Mcnerd - lol!!

The egg doesn't know, but some of us feel that the animal that's providing us with this tasty source of protein is entitled to a humane existence.

In addition, from somone who used to raise her own little flock of egglayers, eggs from hens allowed to truly wander outdoors in a decent amount of space - even if penned & not truly "free range", produce eggs that are definitely superior in quality & taste to those produced by their poorer-kept cousins.
BreezyCooking is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2009, 06:53 PM   #17
Head Chef
 
sparrowgrass's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Highest point in Missouri
Posts: 1,820
Y'all come visit--I will sell you all the "real" eggs you want for $5 a dozen!! I sell mine for $2 a dozen, and some folks gripe about that.

I will even leave the straw, feathers and bits of poo on them for a real down on the farm experience.

Bring cartons--I am almost out.
__________________
I just haven't been the same
since that house fell on my sister.
sparrowgrass is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2009, 07:58 PM   #18
Chef Extraordinaire
 
Uncle Bob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Small Town Mississippi
Posts: 17,515
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparrowgrass View Post
Y'all come visit--I will sell you all the "real" eggs you want for $5 a dozen!! I sell mine for $2 a dozen, and some folks gripe about that.

I will even leave the straw, feathers and bits of poo on them for a real down on the farm experience.

Bring cartons--I am almost out.
Tell the truth....20+ years ago I was picking up about 12-15 dozen per day...Going price was $1 dozen...They frowned at the price, but kept coming back for more....It was a great hobby!
__________________
There is only one Quality worse than Hardness of Heart, and that is Softness of Head.

Kool-Aid...Think Before You Drink
Uncle Bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2009, 11:21 PM   #19
Cook
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Dayton, OH
Posts: 88
Send a message via AIM to CyberSlag5k
Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking View Post
Don't start with me Mcnerd - lol!!

The egg doesn't know, but some of us feel that the animal that's providing us with this tasty source of protein is entitled to a humane existence.

In addition, from somone who used to raise her own little flock of egglayers, eggs from hens allowed to truly wander outdoors in a decent amount of space - even if penned & not truly "free range", produce eggs that are definitely superior in quality & taste to those produced by their poorer-kept cousins.
And if the humane aspect weren't enough (though it should be), I've heard that pastured chicken eggs (meaning the chickens can run around outside as much as they want) have 40% of the cholesterol as battery raised chicken eggs. I believe the rule is the more free the bird, the healthier the egg.
CyberSlag5k is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-27-2009, 10:31 AM   #20
Chef Extraordinaire
 
jennyema's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Boston and Cape Cod
Posts: 10,114
Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking View Post
That's not really the point. All "cage free" means is that, yes, the birds aren't technically kept confined to cages. However, instead of the cages they can legally be kept crammed beak-to-butt in dark, indoor building pens. Can they move a bit more? Yes. Is it much better than the cages? Somewhat doubtful.

All "cage free" means is just that - "cage free". It doesn't mean the quality of their lives or the quality of the eggs is much different.

Also, like I said before "cage-free and "free-range" are two differnt things. Don't confuse them.
Thats what I said upthread. All it means is that they don't live in cages.
__________________
Less is not more. More is more and more is fabulous.
jennyema is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
None

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:45 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.