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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

Don’t Be Influenced By Pretty-Looking Organic Egg Cartons

Whether you’re new to organic or have been eating it for decades, here is a very likely scenario when you go to buy eggs.

You stand in the refrigerated section of the market, look at all of options, check out the prices and make a decision largely based on the packaging of each brand.

Some have attractive pictures of rolling farmland, others show actual farmers, some have photos of the animals. Most certainly, the brands are using buzz words such as “cage-free”, “sunlit porches”, “omega 3-s” or “heritage breed”.

Are these brands being falsely deceptive?

I don’t believe so at all. They are trying to make the packaging as attractive as possible, and rightly so. I would do the exact same thing.

While brand recognition and price are key factors, what the packaging looks like and the emotional reaction that it has on you can heavily influence purchasing decisions.

As I have written about before, all organic eggs are NOT the same — all birds are fed differently and are treated differently — but people forget this and may get seduced by wholesome, folksy packaging.

So, I took a sampling of 8 different organic egg brands and pulled their ratings from the Cornucopia’s Organic Egg Scorecard to see how they stacked up versus the attractiveness of the packaging.

The Organic Egg Scorecard classifies each brand into one of five categories:

“5-Egg” Rating: “Exemplary” – Beyond organic

“4-Egg” Rating: “Excellent” – Organic promoting outdoor access

“3-Egg” Rating: “Good to Very Good” – Organic, complying with minimum USDA standards

“2-Egg” Rating: “Fair” – Some questions remain concerning compliance with organic standards

“1-Egg” Rating: “Industrial Organics” – No meaningful outdoor access and/or non-transparent

Here is what I found.

VITAL FARMS === 4-EGG RATING

 

OLIVER’S ORGANIC EGGS === 4-EGG RATING

 

ALDERFER EGGS === 3-EGG RATING

 

CAROL’S === 3-EGG RATING

 

PETE AND GERRY’S === 3-EGG RATING

 

THE COUNTRY HEN === 2-EGG RATING

 

ORGANIC VALLEY === 2-EGG RATING

 

WHOLE FOODS’ 365 === 1-EGG RATING

MY TAKE

Based on this small sampling, I have two key takeaways.

1) The eggs with the strongest brand recognition – Organic Valley and 365 (Whole Foods) – scored the worst.

2) Do not go to the supermarket and buy eggs based on what the packaging looks like and what the messaging says. Sometimes it will indicate high quality, but other times it will not. You just don’t know for sure.

For me, I am much more drawn to the packaging of The Country Hen (2-egg rating) and Carol’s (3-egg rating) than I am to the two top-scoring eggs, Vital Farms and Oliver’s Organic Eggs, both of which had 4-egg ratings.

While attractiveness is in the eye of the beholder, my best suggestion is to use the Organic Egg Scorecard by the Cornucopia Institute, one of the most respected watchdog organizations in the organic food industry. These people have spent thousands of hours investigating and researching how brands treat and feed the birds, so you can get an informed idea about the quality of eggs you are putting into your body. Most importantly, you will eliminate the guesswork when going to the supermarket.

The Organic Egg Scorecard is part of Cornucopia’s incredibly important report called Scrambled Eggs: Separating Factory Farm Egg Production from Authentic Organic Agriculture.

In this report, Cornucopia highlights the disturbing conditions under which industrial organic egg producers are operating. Even though they are substituting conventional for organic feed and not using synthetic inputs, such as pesticides or antibiotics, some of these large-scale operators provide incredibly cramped, double-story conditions, limited access points to the outdoors, and covered concrete porches instead of adequate space on grass fields.

Just always remember, not all organic eggs are the same.

And more often than not, the packaging doesn’t tell the whole story, for better or for worse.

A message from E3Live

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The best testimonial that I can give is that I drink this every single day, as it impacts my mood in an incredibly positive way.

E3Live + BrainON is certified organic, fresh-frozen AFA (Aphanizomenon flos-aquae) with a concentrated, aqueous, organic extract of Phenylethylamine and Phycocyanin.

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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

Another Reason to Eat Organic — The Water Supply in the Midwest is Becoming a Serious Health Risk

I got a comment from someone the other day who said “Why should we care about GMOs (genetically-modified organisms)? Let them grow what they want. It doesn’t impact the people who eat organic.”

Unfortunately, this individual could not have been more wrong.

GMOs impact everyone, including people who eat 100% organic, and a recent study from the Pesticide Action Network confirms this.

Water sampling results from communities across four Midwestern states — Illinois, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota — indicate Atrazine is present in drinking water at levels well above those linked to birth defects and low birth weight.

WHAT IS ATRAZINE AND WHY YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IT

Present in 94% of our water supply, Atrazine is a toxic weed killer and 76 million pounds of it is dumped onto our farms each year, mostly for corn.

And the health effects of Atrazine?

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A message from Tradin Organic

How Tradin Organic is Helping Coconut Farmers in The Philippines

For more than a decade, Tradin Organic has been working with local partners in The Philippines to bring a diversified range of organic products to the market, such as coconut oil, tropical fruits and even cocoa.

The company is helping to support local farmers by assisting them with technical support and organic certification, in addition to paying Fairtrade premium on top of the organic premium.

Learn more.

Living Maxwell

Better Choices

5 Strategies for Keeping an Organic Diet While Traveling During the Summer

Now that we are in the midst of summer, many people are going away for weekends or for an extended period of time.

For me and many other individuals, a vacation does not mean a vacation from organic.

I have been working with several clients on this very issue and thought that I would share my tips and strategies for eating organic while traveling.

1) Bring your own food If you are traveling by air, car, bus or train, always take food to eat. This could be nuts, fruit, salad, energy bars. Anything. You never want to be stranded and hungry when the only option available is fast food or junk food.

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Organic Insider

Better Choices

Study: Organic Tomatoes Contain More Antioxidants than Conventional Ones

In yet another study, we have more evidence that organic is a healthier choice.

A report out of the University of Barcelona claims that organic tomatoes have a higher amount of antioxidants than conventional tomatoes.

Researchers used liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry to determine that organic tomatoes have a greater amount of phenolic compounds or polyphenols. Polyphenols, which are natural antioxidants of plant origin, are associated with the prevention of cardiovascular and degenerative diseases, and some forms of cancer.

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