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Eggs

Pasture-Raised Does Not Mean No Pesticides

Many leading pasture-raised brands are not organic. They give their hens conventional feed that includes GMO strains of corn and soy, some of which receive pesticide treatments during the growing cycle. Pasture-raised eggs are not organic unless the package has the USDA Organic symbol displayed.

Words by: Jesse Laflamme

We have all seen the cartons, Facebook posts, and websites that market and boast the benefits of pasture-raised eggs. They generally depict lots of happy hens foraging in the fields – and that’s great, because that’s how hens should live. In fact, that’s an accurate description of all the free range hens at Pete and Gerry’s small family farms. But while the pasture-raised label may draw praise, it’s not equivalent to organic - not unless the carton is adorned with the USDA Organic symbol.

You may now be asking yourself “Wait, if the hens are eating grass, flowers, and bugs, then why aren’t their eggs organic?” That part of their diet could be considered organic, as long as those fields haven’t been treated with pesticides (which is also possible). But here’s the really important part: even a hen who spends much of her day in a pasture is not getting her dietary needs fully met that way. Yes, she will snack on insects and marigold petals in between dust baths, and that is an important addition to her diet, but it’s not sufficient to do the hard work of laying eggs. All hens in the United States get their primary nutrition from the feed that is given to them in the barn. That is true for the most impressive-looking and expensive brands down to the least. That feed can either be USDA Organic Certified (and thus free of pesticides, GMOs, etc.), or it can be conventional feed and have all of those things in it.

Many leading pasture-raised brands are not organic! They feed their hens conventional feed that includes GMO strains of corn and soy, some of which receive pesticide treatments during the growing cycle. And no amount of foraging in a pristine pasture is going to change that. The reason these brands choose conventional feed is because it’s cheaper, yet they often charge high prices for their eggs to take advantage of the “organic” perception they have established without the true costs of organic feed.

So let the buyer beware: if an egg carton boasts the USDA Organic label on the package, you can rest assured that the feed (and forage) those hens consume is pesticide- and GMO-free. If it doesn’t have that seal, you can be assured that it does contain those things.

Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs are not only USDA Certified Organic, but also Certified Humane® Free Range. That means you get the highest standards of animal welfare on all of our small farms, and you know that your eggs come from hens that have never eaten anything containing harmful pesticides or GMOs.

COMMENTS

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rosie vianco

August 16, 2018

so none of the feed for your chickens contains any soy products or pesticide sprayed corn - correct? If so, you should put that on the label - you are getting beat out by eggs that say "soy free" . . . at whole foods, anyway!

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1 Reply

[email protected]

August 17, 2018

Great questions, Rosie. Our eggs are USDA Certified Organic, which means they are free of GMOs, antibiotics, and chemical pesticides (and this is also true of their chicken feed and the pastures where they forage for insects, grubs, and greens). Our supplemental chicken feed does contain organic soy and corn, and both ingredients play a huge role in keeping the hens healthy. Continuing to keep up with the latest research on soy as a feed source, along with research on feed ingredients in general, is important to us so we can ensure that we are providing our hens and customers with the highest quality food possible. But, for the time being, we have not yet found an adequate alternative that provides the hens with quite the nutritional quality that soy has.

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Mike welch

August 02, 2018

I love the way you have chosen to farm. I will always choose your eggs over any others because of the ethical way you treat your hens. I believe we all need to support farms that produce certified organic ethically raised food. BTW Mr.Chase is obviously uninformed about the nutritional difference. I will always pay more for your kind of quality

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1 Reply

[email protected]

August 02, 2018

Thank you so much for this honest comment, Mike. Our goal is not only to improve standards, treatment, and ethics within the agricultural industry, but also to produce eggs that consumers like you can truly believe in and feel good about buying. In order to accomplish these goals, we feel that it's our responsibility to be transparent when it comes to labels and other points of confusion in the egg industry. We're always so touched to hear comments like yours that come from a place of trust in and awareness of the practices behind our product. We truly cannot thank you enough for that.

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Karl Chase Sr.

July 22, 2018

No real difference between organic eggs as far as nutrition goes, and the taste is the same. Too many people brainwashed into thinking otherwise so that you and others can ask for more money for your products. You should be ashamed of your selves.

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2 Replies

[email protected]

July 24, 2018

Hi Karl, while it may be true that nutritional values don't vary significantly from organic to non organic eggs, we firmly believe that the treatment of the hens (i.e. access to the outdoors), their diets, and the quality of the feed they receive all play a monumental role in the quality of the final product. To use taste as an example, many of our consumers have reached out to us after switching from conventional eggs to ours, often delighted and surprised that our eggs have a fuller flavor, more substantial white, and deep orange yolk. We think this says it all - everything that goes into the production of your food matters!

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1 Reply

Rosie

July 26, 2018

I noticed when I would eat breakfast out at "restaurants" the eggs I ordered would have a sort of ammonia smell. I don't like to eat out for many reasons. I prefer buying organic because though nothing is perfect in our polluted world ..I try to avoid as much agri poison as possible.

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Donald

July 23, 2018

Correct

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Colleen Donahue

July 22, 2018

One thing I have learned is that if it does not have certified organic, it is not no matter what the other claims on the box are whether it be free range, Omega-3 added, etc. Too many people fall for this and think they are getting a quality egg. If something has to be added, ask yourself, why is it lacking in the first place? Organic for me means free range and a pesticide free diet that gives them everything they need.

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1 Reply

[email protected]

July 24, 2018

That's a really great point, Colleen. With all the different terms and labels out there, it can be tough to keep everything straight! We always recommend looking for the USDA Certified Organic label, which is usually printed right on the front of the package.

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Elizabeth Emory

July 18, 2018

Where can I buy your eggs??

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1 Reply

[email protected]

July 18, 2018

Hi Elizabeth, we have a handy dandy store finder located here on our website that will show you stores in your area that carry our eggs: https://www.peteandgerrys.com/buy-eggs. Hope this helps!

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July 16, 2018

Then these eggs are truly organic unlike mine who are Pasteur raised & fed rain water but Not organic grain!

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Tom O’Neill

July 13, 2018

How fresh and how far away ?

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1 Reply

[email protected]

July 16, 2018

Hi Tom, we partner with a network of small family farms across the Northeast and Midwest, so when our eggs arrive at your local grocery store, they were laid just days beforehand. We're so proud that this is possible thanks to our hardworking farmers and decision to branch out rather than grow into a massive, localized factory farm. If you're ever interested in trying our eggs, just click "Where to Buy" at the top of the page to find out where they're sold near you.

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