Welcome to part 3 of my egg labeling series! You often you see “natural”, “no hormones or steroids”, & “antibiotic free” labels on eggs, but what do these really mean and are they regulated? If you missed the the first 2 posts you can see Part 1 here and Part 2 here
The label Antibiotic free does not mean a thing. It may not be classified as an antibiotic, but they were given some form of medication. Remember the conditions I told you about when we discussed cage free & free range? ( You can read about that here in Part 1) Some of those chickens are crammed so close together in their own feces, that they would not be able to stay alive without some sort of drug, so they’re given drugs in their feed. You can actually see a list of all the pharmaceuticals approved for poultry here: http://articles.extension.org/pages/66983/drugs-approved-for-use-in-conventional-poultry-production.
Unfortunately the label natural does not mean a thing either. The FDA has no regulation on the word natural and companies take advantage of this term and use it as nothing more than a marketing scheme to get you to buy their supposedly cleaner food. This means your natural food can contain antibiotics, hormones, GMOs and pharmaceuticals.
The only way to know your eggs are not on drugs is to buy organic, local, pasture-raised eggs. By law, organic egg laying hens are not allowed to be given any pharmaceuticals. And there is no need to feed your pasture raised hens pharmaceuticals because they are healthy and roaming free- not crammed in close quarters. You may be able to find drug-free, local pasture raised eggs near you, without the organic label (because its expensive to obtain & some farmers practice it without paying the big fees to get certified) but you will have to do some investigative work & possibly talk to the farmer yourself.
This is when Vital Farms saves the day because they pasture raise happy & healthy, drug free hens! And you can find them almost anywhere – I buy mine at Whole Foods! Hopefully by now I have convinced you of the importance of pasture raised eggs. When hens are happy, fed well & provided a humane way of living they in turn provide us with the most delicious tasting and highly nutritious eggs on the planet! I love what Vital Farms is doing, they are definitely changing the egg game!
I also wanted to share this video of a farmer that came out about the truth on eggs and factory farmed chickens. I cannot believe he came out and admitted this, I am concerned for his safety, because what he revealed is not pretty and major egg companies do not want you to know this.