Organic vs. Pastured Eggs

Mother Earth News recently put up this video on calling out the credibility of certified organic eggs produced by “Big Ag” (ie, very large commercial chicken operations of thousands of hens). The fight for defining organic standards – as spelled out in the National Organic Program – has allowed very large producers to bend the rules and still call their operations and products Certified Organic. Essentially, the written standards allow a farm to be certified organic if all feed is from a certified organic source, no synthetic chemicals are used on/in/around the animals (including antibiotics), and they have access to the outdoors. The weasel word here is “access”.

Here’s a small excerpt from the video: “After almost 2 years of research we’re very disturbed to find that there really is a corporate, agribusiness, factory farm takeover of the organic egg industry well underway. The large corporate egg operations now control 80% of the organic market. They’re paying lip service to the Organic Standards. For instance, [there are] aviaries that house as many as 35,000 hens – wall to wall, floor to ceiling. We visited one farm that had 2 buildings that had approximately 15,000 birds per building with one 2′ x 2′ door. And even though the Organic Standards, the Federal law, requires access to outdoors for organic livestock, including chickens, some of these buildings provide either no access whatsoever or minute porches [where] 30, 40, 50, 80 thousand birds have “access” to these small screened-in porches. They’re missing this outdoor opportunity, and they’re missing a lot of the nutrients they get by foraging, the pecking behavior, eating insects, eating grass, foraging for seeds…”

Find out for yourself:

Cornucopia Institute’s Organic Egg Report

Organic Egg Scorecard