What is the difference: cage-free, free-range, organic and pasture-raised eggs
What do the terms cage-free, free-range, organic, and pasture-raised on egg cartons mean?
The terms cage-free, free-range, and organic are all USDA regulated. Cage-free simply means the laying hens aren’t caged, and free-range means the hens have access to the outside. And according to the USDA, organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods. It further regulates that organic eggs must come from free-range hens fed with 100% organic feed (without the use of hormones, antibiotics, or pesticides).
Conversely, there aren’t any USDA regulations for the term pasture-raised. But those farmers who use this claim appear to raise their hens in the bucolic lifestyle you’d expect — the laying hens live outdoors, in open pastures, eating things like bugs, seeds, and grass.
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