Thought of the Day

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Why did the Free Range Chicken cross the Road?

To lay eggs in a greener pasture. 
Today I start with a joke, a bad one at that, but a joke because the rest of this article is no joke.  I'd like to inform you about the differences between free range and factory farmed chicken eggs.  If you want to skip the grim details and just take my word for it, I urge you to find someone local to purchase your eggs from or get a few of your own hens for a backyard coop.
To begin, eggs in the grocery store are, on average, about 30 days old.  The vitamins in an egg deplete daily so the fresher the better.  The preparation of store bought eggs also compromises the nutrition in them.  When chickens lay eggs in factory farms, they are taken through a process of cleaning that kills not only bacteria but damages the outside surface of the egg, making it more vulnerable to outside contamination and faster deterioration.  Factory farmed eggs are washed in a bleach solution and although they are rinsed after being washed, the cuticle of the egg is removed by the bleach.  The cuticle is the membrane on the outside of the egg that naturally protects the permeable shell from outside contamination.  Removing this membrane opens the door to contamination by bacteria and the bleach itself can now leach into the eggs.  Although I couldn't find any research on this bleach contamination, I would argue that people who have acquired a sensitivity or allergy to eggs may have been exposed to too much bleach contamination in their eggs.  Bleach poisoning causes symptoms like diarrhea, mouth and throat soreness, stomach cramps, and a general feeling of sickness.  I wash my chickens' eggs in warm water only.  They have a very clean coop so I rarely have any poop on them anyway.  If you are concerned about bacteria like salmonella on your farm fresh eggs, then go check out the birds living conditions.  If they are really free range and have a clean coop and plenty of clean water to drink, you probably don't have to worry.  The living conditions of factory farmed eggs increase the probability of salmonella because they are kept in such confined spaces.  Farm fresh eggs are better tasting, more nutritious and probably safer to eat that store bought eggs.  Here's a picture of some of my eggs!