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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

"My Everyday, Must-Have Green Organic Aquabotanical"

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.

Learn more.

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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

Another Reason to Eat Organic – Conventional Meat Contains Twice as Many Superbugs

Aside from the fact that conventionally-raised animals can be pumped with synthetic growth hormones and can be fed genetically-modified grain that has been sprayed with super-toxic pesticides, there is now another scary reason to avoid conventional meat: superbugs.

In results from a just released study, Consumers Reports found that 18 percent of the ground beef samples from conventionally-raised cows contained dangerous superbugs resistant to three or more classes of antibiotics used to treat illness in humans. This is compared with just 9 percent of ground beef from samples that were sustainably produced.

Consumer Reports purchased 300 packages – 458 pounds – of conventionally and sustainably produced ground beef from grocery, big-box, and natural food stores in 26 cities across the country.

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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

Organic Wine — Does it Contain Sulfites?

In wine, there are naturally occurring sulfites and added sulfites. The naturally occurring sulfites are a by-product of the fermentation process and it is nearly impossible to have a sulfite-free wine.

Winemakers have been working with sulfite agents, added sulfites, for hundreds of years. They were originally introduced in Europe as a preservative and are used to prevent spoiling.

It is possible, however, to have a wine that is free of added sulfates and that is organic wine. The four main attributes of USDA certified organic wine are:

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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

Organic Milk – The Most Important Product a Family Can Buy

For people who are new to organic or have very limited financial means to buy organic, the one thing that I always say is the following:

The absolute number one priority in your household should be organic milk for your kids.

Even if a family thinks that organic food is out of their budget, organic milk cannot be compromised under any condition.

Organic milk is about the health of the kids, and that comes before everything else.

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Approximately 20% of the milk in the U.S. is hormonal milk. But what exactly is hormonal milk?

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livingmaxwell: a guide to organic food & drink