Shopping for eggs is hard. All most of us want is a fresh, tasty egg to fry up for breakfast or mix into cake batter. Pass by the egg section in any grocery store today, however, and you’re greeted with a plethora of confusing options.
Natural! Vegetarian-fed! Pasteurized! Free-range! Cage-free! Organic!
These feel-good labels are affixed to all of the major brands available in our grocery stores. Many seem self-explanatory, but they’re not. As Care2′s Piper Hoffman explained in a recent post, “The claims egg producers make on their packages, like ‘free-range,’ mean nothing, and more specific claims about happy chickens may be false.” While humane egg farming is possible, there are no legal rules to define these terms or when they can be used. In order to attain genuine, cruelty-free, fresh, healthy eggs, you’ve got to dig deeper than the label.
VitalFarms is just one company dedicated to educating the public and providing alternatives to unhealthy, factory-farmed eggs in American grocery stores — but they need help. Today, VF launched a crowdfunding campaign to help conventional egg farmers become humane egg farmers.
Care2 sat down with VitalFarms’ Aurora Porter to learn more about what’s gone wrong in the egg industry, and why the public should care about their campaign to transform a conventional egg farm into a true pasture raised operation. Here’s what she had to say:
Care2: Why is it such a big deal to know where your eggs come from?
AP: In our predominantly industrialized food system, it can be very hard to know exactly what we’re eating, and this is especially true with eggs. Producers and marketers label eggs as “free-range” and “cage-free” and hope that consumers think this means their chickens lived outside on green rolling hills, with a red barn in the distance. Nothing is further from the truth. Ninety-five percent of laying hens in the U.S. live in cages, ankle deep in feces and urine, and this of course, affects the flavor, health and quality of the egg we’re all eating, not to mention the health and happiness of the hens that produce our eggs. If you care about your health, animal welfare and the taste of the food you eat, it is important to know where your eggs came from and how they were produced.