Compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:
- 1â„3 less cholesterol
- 1â„4 less saturated fat
- 2â„3 more vitamin A
- 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
- 3 times more vitamin E
- 7 times more beta carotene
These dramatically differing nutrient levels are most likely the result of the differences in diet between free-range pastured hens, vs. commercially farmed hens.
Without citing any research of their own, most egg industry advocates hold fast to their claim that commercially farmed eggs are no different from pastured eggs, and that hensâ€™ diets do not alter their eggs nutritional value in any significant way.
Mother Earth News points out the flawed and downright fraudulent definitions of â€œtrue free-range. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines free-rangeâ€ as chickens that have access to the outside. However, it does not define their diets, nor whether or not the â€œoutside access’is to a cement courtyard or a field fit for foraging.
Sources: Mother Earth News October/November 2007