A: Common marketing terms “hormone-free”, “farm fresh”, and “natural” have no real meaning. This is because the use of hormones in hens is banned, all commercial eggs come from farms, and all eggs are natural unless they have been exposed to radiation or heat pasteurization, which is uncommon and would be labeled as such. Even “cage-free” doesn’t guarantee the hens actually walk on natural ground and see sunlight. Typical commercial eggs in the U.S. come from caged hens that are commonly given feed made with genetically-modified corn and soy grown with conventional fertilizers and pesticides. The natural diet of hens includes wild plants, insects and worms eaten as they walk around grassy grounds. Animal welfare aside, eggs from pastured hens are more nutritious; they have two times more omega-3 fatty acids, and two to seven times more vitamins A, D, E, and beta-carotene. So raise your own hens or get eggs from someone you know who has hens that are allowed access to natural ground, and are given supplemental protein feed intended for hens, preferably organic. Alternatively, purchase USDA organic certified to avoid GMOs, antibiotics, and pesticides and ensure the laying hens are treated humanely to reduce stress to the animals and improve egg quality. No need to pay the higher prices for designer eggs that have more omega-3. Typically high-omega-3 eggs come from hens that are fed flaxseed which provides omega-3 fatty acids but not DHA and EPA, the desired fatty acids linked with a lower risk for heart disease, cancer, alzheimer’s disease and vision problems.
Information provided by Toni Sumpter, Sumpter Pharmacy and Wellness, 628 Nile Kinnick Drive South, Suite A, 993-1119.