Cage Free Egg Labeling Good or Bad

cage free egg label7 facts about the Cage Free Eggs label.

Cage Free Egg Labels as defined by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).

Plus, a few things to think about before you buy and trust eggs with the Cage Free Label on them.

  1. The term ” Cage Free Eggs” is not law or regulated by the FDA or USDA.
  2. No regulation means no official USDA Label is available. Egg producers use their own labeling on egg cartons when referring to Cage Free Eggs.
  3. Cage Free Eggs doesn’t pertain to how the hen was fed, but only how the hen was housed during their laying cycle. This means there are no rules on how the hens are housed for the first three to five months of their life or when the hens aren’t laying eggs. Hens normally start laying eggs around 3 to 5 months of age depending on the breed.
  4. Cage Free can also carry the label “from free-roaming hens”. Cage-free eggs are not produced from hens in cages but by hens that are allowed to roam in a room or building.
  5. According to labeling packaging requirements, the term cage-free eggs is misleading. Eggs aren’t cage-free, but hens can be cage-free. The suggested use of cage-free is “eggs that originated from a cage-free environment.”
  6. The USDA gives the following definition of Cage-Free Eggs when the egg producer pays for USDA Grademark. Eggs “must be produced by hens in a building, room, or enclosure that allows for unlimited access to food & water & freedom to roam the area during the laying cycle. Cage-free hens are not required to have access to the outdoors & do not produce more nutritional eggs.”

Let’s think about the information the USDA provides about the Cage-Free egg label.

The requirements of using the cage free label are as follows:

Hens can’t be in actual cages.
Hens have to have access to food, water, and freedom to roam during the egg-laying cycle.
Hens are kept in a room, building, or enclosure.

What’s not required for the cage-free label:

It is not required that hens have access to the outdoors.

What’s not said about the label cage free eggs:

Nowhere does it say how much space each hen has in their living space. Nor does it say how many hens are housed at one time in a building.

My 2 cents worth and things for you to think about:

The USDA and FDA do not have rules or laws on the books about Cage Free Eggs. However, for marketing purposes, the USDA and FDA give verbiage and meaning when an egg producer chooses to pay the extra money for USDA egg grading.

Historically, traditional commercial egg production kept several hens in a small cage where the hens couldn’t walk or turn around. Many eggs are still raised in this manner. Does the cage-free way of raising hens for eggs take the chicken from a small cage to a large one?

Plus, what about ventilation in these buildings for both the humans and the chickens, we don’t really know?

How much better are cage-free hens to traditional hens raised for eggs? The hen still isn’t raised in nature as hens were intended. They are caged in large buildings and enclosures. And the eggs are still not more nutritious than traditional eggs.

Something for you to think about and decide. 

Egg labels:

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