Friday, January 25, 2013

The Great Egg Charade

I try to be a good shopper. One idea from the documentary Food Inc. has always stuck in my mind and that is that every item that you buy from the store is your vote for that item to be produced and sold. Therefore, the more people buy organic, the more readily organics are made available and therefore prices are reduced on organics in the long run. Take the more recent "green" phenomenon. Fifteen years ago you would have been laughed at for buying products just because of how they were made or the carbon footprint that is left behind by them; now it's mainstream and economically-friendly products are everywhere.
This is my reasoning behind buying cage-free eggs, for example. A typical dozen of "regular" eggs can usually be found for about $1 or so, give or take a good sale. A typical dozen of "cage-free" eggs are $3.50, again give or take where you live. So why pay more? Reason number one is listed above- I intended to vote against animal cruelty. The chickens that make the chalk white eggs that are mass sold are stuffed into cages so small they are practically pancaked on top of one another and usually their beaks are cut off to prevent pecking other chickens because of the enclosed space. When I visualize that I find it extremely difficult to buy "regular" eggs. Secondly, cage-free eggs taste way better. The yolk is brighter and have a more pronounced flavor and they contain more nutrients. Yes, I believe this is worth paying three times the money for. This having been said, what comes to your mind when a food is labeled as cage-free? Rolling hills, open spaces, and freedom to roam. That's what I think of. Apparently this is wrong. Just because the chickens aren't in cages doesn't mean they are thrown in a dark dungeon and squeezed in with about a million other chickens. I read this article from CHEESESLAVE and I found it to be very interesting. I tried buying pastured chicken eggs (which are very hard to find!) and they are twice as expensive as their cage-free counterparts. About $3.50 for 1/2 dozen. I don't know that I will be able to always buy pastured chicken eggs, but now that I have educated myself about the "cage-free" egg conspiracy I feel obligated to as much as possible.
I am kind of glad that I've been cutting back on my egg consumption, they are getting expensive!

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