What is the difference between “Free Range”, “Naturally Nested”, “Cage Free” and “Organic” eggs?
There are very few regulations governing the labeling of eggs in the commercial marketplace. Basically, all these terms really mean is that the hens are not in cages. In typical “egg factories”, the hens are kept in batteries of cages, four or six (or more) to a cage, so that they have very little room to move around. The hens have part of their beaks removed so that they can’t peck each other to death, at least not as quickly. They spend their whole lives in these cages, only leaving when they die or are ready to be butchered. “Cage Free”, “Naturally Nested”, and “Free Range” just mean that the hens are out of a cage. There are no rules giving them access to the outdoors and sunlight or governing what they eat. They can (and usually are) kept confined to a crowded building under 24-hour lighting, and given antibiotics to keep diseases under control and productivity up. “Certified Organic” is the only label that differs. The hens may not be given any synthetic chemicals, including anti