What Do Egg Labels Tell Us?


By now regular readers here know that when I ask a question like this the answer is probably, “Not much.”

That would be true of egg labels too.

Most of the words you see on an egg carton have little to no meaning. The terms you see on egg cartons by and large have no rules or regulations associated with them. They can mean anything. They can mean what ever the manufacturer wants them to mean.

These words would include free range/free roaming and cage free. Many of the egg cartons with these labels are still layed by hens in huge barns holding as many as 100,000++++  hens. Instead of being in cages, as they used to be, they now are free to move about in the barn. But this is rather difficult as over-crowding is the norm. The hens could move if there was room to move. Thing is, there is no room.

Antibiotic free is also an unregulated term and is nearly impossible to verify. So it is meaningless too.

The USDA banned hormones in the late fifties. If you see hormone free on a package of eggs it is true. But so what? No one uses them any more. Manufacturers who use the term are just trying to trick you into buying their eggs since you may not know the USDA banned hormones years ago.

Omega 3 enriched simply and only means the hens have been fed fish oil, flaxseed, or algae.  According to culinate, “An omega-3 egg contains about 200 to 300 milligrams of omega-3s. But a three-ounce portion of salmon will give you about 1,000 milligrams, nearly three times that of the enriched egg.”

So don’t count on eggs as your main source of Omega 3.

Manufactures like to lure us with the word, “natural.” But it is an unregulated word and means nothing.

Organic and certified organic are regulated by the USDA. The feed the hens eat must be free of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and commercial fertilizers. Since these kinds of feeds cost more, so do the eggs. But that does not necessarily mean the hens live in humane living conditions. Like cage free hens, they are often housed in large warehouse. According to Fooducate, these hens are also often starved and de-beaked as well.

Those last two leads us to the topic of humane living conditions. And let’s just leave it at, don’t count on it. If this is a concern of yours and you want to know more, you can click on the Humane Society link.

There is no difference in brown or white eggs, except the color of the shell.

So what is a consumer supposed to do? My best siggestion is to buy the eggs you can afford at a reputable store. However, as Fooducate says in its wonderful and short article, if you can find a local farm and can afford it, treat yourself, at least once in your life time, to eggs from a local family farm.

I can tell you how to tell the freshest eggs at the store. I love these websites that tell you to drop eggs in a glass of water. If it goes to the bottom it is fresh; if it rises to the top, not so much. If the egg sinks then what am I supposed to do. Take it back to the store and ask for a refund. DUH!!!!!!!

Some egg cartons tell you the exact date the eggs were packed. This is even better than the “sell by” date on the carton. About a third of eggs in the United States are packed under the USDA’s voluntary grading system. If the company you are buying the eggs from are, on one of the short ends of the carton, near or under the, “best if used by date” is a number that tells you when the eggs were packaged. The number corresponds to the day of the year from 1 to 365. If the number 1 is on the carton the eggs were packed on January 1. If they were packed on December 31st, the number would be 365. So the higher the number, the fresher the egg.

Featured Recipe    Dijon Chicken with Red Grapes

This recipe is quick and easy and super delicious. The recipe is easily doubled.

This is what you will need for 2 people:

2 chicken breasts bone in or skinless and boneless

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

½ cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard with or without seeds.

¾ to 1 cup of red grapes

Here is what you do:

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat.

Add the chicken and cook over medium high until well browned on both sides.

If you are using a skin on, bone in breast this will take 15-20 minutes per side, maybe a bit longer. Once you have browned the chciken on both sides,  you may want to turn the heat source down a bit so the chicken does not burn while it finishes cooking. You can also cover the skillet with a lid  and the chicken will cook through a little faster that way.

If you are using a skinless boneless breast, this will take 8-10 minutes per side, maybe a bit more, depending on size, maybe less.

To test for doneness, insert a knife into the thickest part of the chicken. The juices that run from the slit should be clear, no pink.

While the chicken is cooking wash and dry the grapes on paper towels. 

Then cut the grapes in half.

When the chicken is done, remove it from the skillet to a plate. Tent with aluminum foil to keep warm, and to allow the juices to redistribute.

Add the cream, the mustard, and the grapes.

Mix well and heat over medium low heat until the cream thickens and the grapes are heated through, about 2-3 minutes.

Place the chicken on a serving plate and spoon some of the sauce over it. Serve with some fresh grapes and a side dish. I am using up some of the Barley Pilaf I shared with you a few posts back as my other side dish.

Bon Appetit!!!


2 chicken breasts bone in                $4.21

Or skinless and boneless                 Don’t know, except it will be more. expensive

1 teaspoon vegetable oil                  $0.01

½ cup whipping cream                    $0.34

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard            $0.40

¾ to 1 cup of red grapes                 $0.54

Total cost = $5.50
Cost per person = $2.75

Quote of the Day

When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion

Dale Carnegie

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