Marketing…oh marketing, you never seize to amaze. The meat, poultry, and dairy companies will stop at nothing to brain wash people into believing their product is the right choice. But when you head to the market, do you really know what all these labels mean?..or are you just going for what “sounds” healthy and humane?
Well, in usual Carolyn fashion, I’ve compiled a quick list of the main terms you’ll see, and what the hell they really mean.
PASTURE RASIED eggs come from hens that are born and raised on an open pasture.
PASTEURIZED eggs refers to the process of heating the egg for a set amount of time to combat spoilage. During this process, the egg looses much of its micronutrients. This term gives no information on the welfare or feeding of the hens.
ULTRA PASTEURIZED eggs refers to the process of heating the egg to super high levels to combat spoilage. Because of this process, all of the micronutrients are gone. Again, this term gives no information on the welfare or feeding of the hens.
CAGE FREE eggs are regulated by the USDA, but it only means that the hens don’t live in cages. The term doesn’t share how much space they have or if they ever see the outdoors. This is for obvious reasons.
FREE RANGE eggs don’t actually mean the birds live on a free range. They are housed in sheds that contain 9 birds per square meter. Thats like 14 adults living in a 1 room flat. Free? I think not.
HOMOGENIZATION in dairy is the process of breaking down the fat molecules so they stay integrated rather than separating as cream. This process doesn’t take anything away from the milk.
ORGANIC simply means made without man-made fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators, or feed additives.
PASTURE RAISED with regard to cows, is a welfare standard. It looks at HOW the cows are raised, where as grass-fed refers solely to WHAT they are fed. Pasture raised means the cows are born and raised in an open pasture eating grass. Yay!
GRASS FED implies the cows eat grass. But don’t let the label fool you. By law, all the farmer has to supply is a tiny patch of grass somewhere in the cramped pin of hundreds of cows, and they can label it grass fed. Many of the cows never eat a blade of grass in their lifetime.
I hope this simple breakdown will help you choose more humanely at the market. My advice to you...if you can't go plant based, then stay pasture-raised.