Real Organic vs. Store-bought “Organic” Eggs

Store-bought organic eggs (left) vs. real organic eggs (right).

Store-bought organic eggs (left) vs. real organic eggs (right).

Last week, I went to the Super Store grocery and randomly selected a carton of a dozen eggs from their organic section. I chose 3 and boiled them. Then I randomly selected 3 free-range, organic eggs from our farm and boiled them. The photo below shows one of those store-bought “organic” eggs (left), and one of our free-range, real organic eggs (right). I put quotes around “organic” in reference to the store-bought egg because I can see that it is of such poor quality that it barely qualifies as different from ordinary store-bought eggs.

Look at the store-bought “organic” egg on the left. The sickly off-white is thin and runs like pudding if cracked and cooked in a frying pan. Lovely yellow yolks, eh? Those pale yolks are the sign of an anemic, unhealthy chicken that was overcrowded, never actually lived free-range, was fed a mainly grain diet, and the yolk is full of LDL cholesterol (the bad kind).

Look at the egg on the right from our free-range, organic flock. See the deep burnished golden color. That color indicates a chicken that was true free-ranged, cut loose on acres of land to scratch for grubs, seeds and grasses as chickens should. It is rich with vitamin A, carotene and HDL cholesterol (the good kind of cholesterol). The egg white is a clearer, pure white and gelatinous; it wants to hold its shape if cracked into a frying pan due to higher quality protein.

I eat three of these eggs almost every day and never worry about cholesterol (and, yes, I do get my blood checked from time to time). These true free-range eggs are for the body like trout and carrots and sweet potatoes. So, if you’re shopping for food for yourself and your family, insist on the real thing–not what some corporate-influenced government regulator or poultry board tells you is “good enough”. Real eggs are the perfect food. That pale, sickly stuff on the left–it’s like candy, just empty calories.

Categories: Uncategorized | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Real Organic vs. Store-bought “Organic” Eggs

  1. Kate W.

    Organic ONLY means that they are receiving organic feed. Free range, mean your chickens are eating not only bugs, but lots of greens, which gives the yolk its darker colour.

  2. bp

    Your comments on LDL and HDL cholesterol are bogus, it just doesn’t work like that in an egg.
    In fact the whole thing about egg yokes being bad for you because of cholesterol is a myth.

    The fact I know that makes me question your entire article.
    Please. A little more fact, so I have an excuse to take the rest of your statements at face value.

    By the way, the colour of the yoke is directly related to what the chickens have been eating, so at least in that way you are right, that their diet was likely fairly uniform. Being uniform, they were likely not free range or they would have been eating a lot more variety, and have darker yokes.
    The term “organic” is mostly marketing, but that does not mean useless, because it will at least indicate that there will be fewer poisons in the food they eat.

    That said, I’d still prefer to eat my own eggs.

    • I’m afraid I’ll have to favor what the authoritative resources have to say on the effects of egg cholesterol and serum cholesterol. “Bogus” doesn’t mean much.

    • BP: Unfortunately, the term “organic” has been hijacked by industrial farms and food corporations and perverted to mean the minimum it can so that they can get away with charging high prices for second rate foods. For those of us who do this, and live this–who farm and homestead and take it seriously–organic continues to mean what it always has: food raised free of artificial herbicides and pesticides, growth hormones and–insomuch as possible–medication, and upon soil free of artificial treatments and fertilizers. It is a simple, straightforward definition speaking to an honest desire–for food from Nature’s own hearth. None of that is likely ever to change.

  3. Check out

    • Thank you, Pam. It’s a great article. Mother Earth News hired a lab to chemically analyze free-range and industrially farmed eggs a few years back, too. This was something the industrial farm industry had resisted doing themselves for years. The results of the analysis were striking.

  4. Mac

    Ughh… another “more organic than thou” blog.

    The egg on the left most likely meets your description of organic from your second comment: “food raised free of artificial herbicides and pesticides, growth hormones and–insomuch as possible–medication, and upon soil free of artificial treatments and fertilizers.” It is also likely that it came from a hen that had outdoor access, but no access to pasture, as the NOP requires outdoor access, but has no pasture requirement for avian species.

    That being said, yolk color is not indicative of the health of the chicken, the stocking density, nor the cholesterol content. I have raised hens free-range in a barnyard, on suburban lots, and on designated pasture. It does not always result in that dark orange yolk color. Yolk color is more dependent on the types of plants they are eating, the stage of growth of the plants, and in our case, whether or not the pasture is under several feet of snow. Lush pastures of grasses, alfalfa, and clovers darken the yolk some, but it is likely that you have specific plants and weeds in your pasture that are contributing to that dark orange color.

    • It’s an interesting reply, McCarty, though deeply flawed. I have to start with your assumption that “the egg on the left most likely meets” various organic standards. You can tell all that on the basis you’ve raised some chickens in town and country? I spent a lot of time learning how to assess egg and poultry quality and have raised chickens since I was ten years old, and apart from glancing at a pallid egg interior and realizing it’s poor, I don’t think I could tell one whit whether the hen that bore it came up on a corporate or industrial farm. But then, if I can’t tell a “certified” organic egg from a corporate egg, that tells me a lot about the quality of government organic certification standards, because I can certainly tell them from real free-ranged organic eggs.

      Likewise, I’m dumbfounded you’re trying to inform me yolk color is influenced by diet. Indeed, that is what I have just asserted. But I’ll take it further and say that since egg color tells you how a chicken is eating, it also informs you as to the chicken’s living conditions and, ultimately, health. When a chicken gets to live outside of confines, the yolk is darker and the white clear and firmer because it gets a varied diet. There is also the fact that putting a chicken in “organic” conditions but failing to let it free-range results in the monotonous diet and poor exercise conditions that lead to the “corn-fed vs. grass-fed beef” phenomenon–in which the former meat is high in LDL and fats while the latter is high in HDL and low in fat.

      You say that you raised chickens in town and country and neither color nor quality are influenced by living conditions such as density and free-ranging. Well, I will just call that what it is–nonsense. You see, I’m not an armchair farmer or mere hobbyist. This is how I live. I’ve raised chickens much of my life and seen this phenomenon in the high desert, the Deep South and the Maritimes. I also know that my free-ranged chickens give orange yolks and pearly whites even in the dead of winter, when there is a meter of snow on the ground and they haven’t seen a fresh green in three months. Allowing the chickens room to exercise, romp, be social and even be happy is as important to the bird’s health and quality of the eggs as is diet.

      Let me just add that the color of our eggs is not a result of breeding, either. I do have Rhodes in my flock. But I also have half a dozen layers that I produced by merely hatching a carton of store-bought organic eggs in an incubator. The eggs they give us are also orange and pearl.

      So, is this a “more organic than thou” post? Not really. It is more a “your friendly neighborhood corporate farm syndicate is deceiving you” post. It is to let people know what’s really behind their food. And what do I get out of it? Well, not money. I don’t sell eggs. I have no brand to market. I keep just a couple dozen hens for our own use. I guess what I get out of it is a clean conscience, knowing I’ve done what I can to be truthful and inform the public.

      For a little light reading, here are the results of lab tests on free-ranged eggs:

      • 1/3 less cholesterol
      • 1/4 less saturated fat
      • 2/3 more vitamin A
      • 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
      • 3 times more vitamin E
      • 7 times more beta carotene

      Read more:

      So, all that said, let me conclude with this: my website exists to share stories, experiences and ideas about living well with Earth. It does not exist to pander ignorance, and I do not waste my time on shoddy attitudes. You’re welcome to comment and to disagree, but if you start off with another derogatory remark, my reading ends there and you will be banned. I won’t waste my time beyond that.

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