Remember our egg recall a few months ago? An important detail about the recall, is that the eggs in question all came from mass production farms or what is called big agri-egg business.
Unfortunately in the “organic” world we also have large agri-egg farms, and according to a report submitted by a pHreshLiving.com reader, some of them may be under scrutiny for reasons other than salmonella. It seems they may not be abiding by the “organic” rules, posted on an earlier report, and that the chickens may not be “free range”, meaning able to walk around and have a normal 16 week life in the outdoors. So, now we must discern between the organic eggs as well, at least until they come up with another heading, perhaps “organic eggs from organic fed (not free range) chickens”, or something like that.
A better solution overall, is simply to purchase from local farms (you can always check LocalHarvest.org, icon below) as well as more mainstream farm co-ops like Organic Valley Coop. You can meet your local farmers who belong to this coop at the website, and all the eggs and other products are under the same label “Organic Valley”.
Excerpt Sept. 10, 2010 Scrambled Egg Report from Cornucopia Institute
“After visiting over 15% of the certified egg farms in the United States, and surveying all name-brand and private-label industry marketers, it’s obvious that a high percentage of the eggs on the market should be labeled ‘produced with organic feed’ rather than bearing the USDA-certified organic logo,” said Mark A. Kastel, The Cornucopia Institute’s codirector and senior farm policy analyst.
According to the United Egg Producers (UEP), the industry lobby group, 80 percent of all organic eggs are produced by just a handful of its largest members. Most of these operations own hundreds of thousands, or even millions of birds, and have diversified into “specialty eggs,” which include organic. At least one UEP member, Hillandale Farms, has been implicated in the recent nationwide salmonella outbreak affecting conventional eggs.
Cornucopia’s report focuses not on the size of some of these mammoth agribusinesses but rather on their organic livestock management practices. It says that most of these giant henhouses, some holding 85,000 birds or more, provide no legitimate access to the outdoors, as required in the federal organic regulations.