I heard a very interesting story on the radio the other day that had to do with – you guessed it – labels on egg cartons. As with most things I tend to write about, it sounds like a rather benign topic on the surface, but do a little scratching, like a chicken searching for grubs, and you might find something you didn’t expect.
For instance, I never stopped to think about it before, but one thing they talked about was the “organic” labeling. As soon as they started talking about it, my ears perked up because I was like, “well, an egg is laid by a chicken, and that is a natural process, therefore shouldn’t that qualify it as an organic product no matter what?” No. An egg is “organic” if the chicken that laid it eats only “organic” feed, and is not injected with any antibiotics. I found that interesting.
Another thing I learned was that if the carton states that the chickens were raised “cage-free”, that does not necessarily mean that they were free to roam about in some farm yard. All it means is precisely what it states: that the chickens were not housed in a wire pen. But, they still may not have had access to the outside, nor did they necessarily enjoy any more room in which to flap their wings than “caged” chickens. They can be just as cramped and sun-deprived. It’s simply that there are no “wire cages” involved. Good to know.
Personally, I love eggs. They’re relatively inexpensive, they’re relatively good for you, and I find them to be very tasty. But, I have noticed those labels from time to time and have wondered about them. I am glad to learn that maybe some of my assumptions were not exactly accurate. And, dare I say, some of the labels could almost be construed as “misleading.” Not in a criminal sense, but sort of as in “we never said they were free to roam about; we only said they were ‘cage-free’, and check it out, no cages here!”
Not everyone feels compelled to read labels on food packaging. But, if you are someone who likes to read the labels so you can feel you are better informed about your eating choices, you might want to do a little homework before reading any more labels because “they might not mean what you think they mean.”
I’ve said it before, and I continue to brandish it as a sword – be aware, people! Not “BEWARE”, but simply “Be Aware.” That is our responsibility as members of society.
Have a great day!