Shopping for eggs can be a confusing venture. There’s no doubt that ethical concerns are playing an increasingly important role in decision making when making a purchase. It seems that egg producers — perhaps more than any other — have responded to this trend by adding an abundance of confusing claims on egg cartons.
At the moment, in Australia, there are no defined legal standards for egg producers to follow, so some farmers who advertise ‘free range’ may have their chickens happily wandering the paddock, but some may have thousands of hens packed into a barn.
If you want to buy free range eggs that are produced by chickens that really do get to go outside in a non crowded environment and have a stress-free life, there are accreditations provided by organisations such as RSPCA, Free Range Egg and Poultry Association of Australia (FREPA), Biological Farmers Association of Australia and Australian Egg Corporation.
Even in the above schemes there are differences with the RSPCA allowing the classification of ‘free-range’ for hens housed in humane (their definition) barn conditions, with no access to the outside. The Australian Certified Organic chickens seem to have the best conditions with a standard of 5 birds per square metre as opposed to 7 for the RSPCA and 14 for the Australian Egg Corporation. Just so you know, cage systems allow 18 birds per square metre – not good.
They may cost a little more, but lookout for the Australian Certified Organic eggs next time you’re cruising the supermarket.
via: Earth First