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Are Organic Eggs Better for You?

To be considered organic, the producing farm needs to meet a list of standards that include a range of check-lists dos and don’ts. The absence of growth hormones and feed produced on non-organic fields is a push in the right direction. But there are a lot of factors that this certification does not cover. One of which is the amount of time the hens spend on pasture. All these different terms for eggs, cage-free, organic, pastured, organic-pastured, and others may lead the consumer to many questions.  

My advice is when you are left with so many questions it may be time to seek out local farmers that don’t rely on expensive labels to sell at scale. This could be an opportunity for you to find out what makes that six-dollar-a-dozen eggs at the farmers market worth your investment. Most farmers are happy to explain what they do to bring you the best product they can.  

Back to the question of whether are they better for you. Probably the best thing going for the organic label is the regulation on feed, at least at first glance. The absence of GMOs, antibiotics, animal by-products, and synthetic preservatives adds a level of protection from what may contaminate the eggs of hens in conventional ag. While there is conflicting evidence as to whether GMOs create any sort of variation in eggs one thing that has been studied well over is the use of soy as a mash additive or as a majority of their feed. When soy is included (organic soy is approved in organic eggs) in the feed regimen of hens soy isoflavones are shown to be present in the yolk of eggs. There have been numerous studies proving this and some argue the health benefits of soy.  

But if you want to avoid soy due to allergies, or avoid excess estrogen for males it is important to note that studies have shown both conventional and organic eggs will have high levels of soy isoflavones, suggesting high levels of soy in their feeds.  

Having once raised chickens for egg production in a pasture setting. I knew firsthand how expensive it was to source soy-free feed. But running hens for eggs is already hard enough for a small farmer to be profitable without the smothering costs of operation, namely, feed. When soy is not a majority of the feed then, soy isoflavones levels in the yolks are not as noticeable. It seems that 100% avoidance of soy in the feed is only a necessity if you have a soy allergy. Slightly misleading labeling of eggs proves that organic eggs receive a very similar feed input that conventional hens receive, soy! Leaving us with the best solution being smaller quantities of soy, and more rotations in the field to replace excess soy feed with forage. Hopefully, this helps to avoid the impacts of soy on our yolks and our bodies.

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Jesse Roberts


I studied Dutch horticulture and business management and now manage a 200 acre farm and market garden at Bibb Forest Farm.  Some of my favorite subjects include soil fertility, crop quality and tractor cultivation.  My favorite animals are Jane the gaurd dog and Little Lue one of our grown bottle-baby ewes. 

Jesse Roberts

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