If your brain feels scrambled (pun intended) when it comes to understanding the difference between free-range, caged, barn-laid and descriptors applied to eggs, you’re not alone. Even the labelling on the various options available can be confusing!
Cage eggs are a huge no-go for Three Beans as the chickens are housed in small confined cages where they have access to food and water but no room to flap their wings or even move around. Think factory farming, as the only real consideration is the number of eggs per dollar at the end of the day. Cage eggs have less nutritional value, as the diet of caged birds contains no fresh food or grass.
Barn-laid eggs are laid by hens housed indoors, but not in conventional caged systems. The hens on the floor have access to perches and nest boxes to lay their eggs.
Free-range implies the bird has been raised in an open environment with room to move around. Although the standard now allows producers to pack 10,000 hens into a hectare with no mandate for hens to actually spend time outdoors. This is entirely in contrast to consumers' expectations for free range eggs and the CSIRO's Model Code of Practice, which says there should be a maximum of 1,500 hens per hectare on an outdoor range.
Therefore many of the eggs consumers buy as “free-range” are from chickens that now fit this new definition with some of the worst offenders were Australia's supermarket giants. Unlike other labels such as nutritional information panels or best-before dates, the “free-range” claim is not regulated by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). In fact, no claims about production methods are subject to this kind of regulation. Food labelling regulation by FSANZ is about what a food contains, rather than how it is produced.
If animal welfare, sustainability, and labelling are things that you are concerned about, then research brands to help you identify the products that align with your values.
At Three Beans, we get our eggs from Rohde's Free Range Eggs, which is a family owned and operated business that has been in the industry for over 50 years. Located near the township of Tarlee on the edge of the pristine Clare Valley, Rohde's strive to provide the best free-range eggs possible. Its egg farm is quality assured and is also RSPCA accredited.
In order to maintain the finest quality and service to its customers every aspect of the business is conducted 'on farm'. The feed is produced and prepared on the Rohde's farm. The eggs are graded into cartons and catering packs and distributed to retail outlets and eateries throughout SA.
Life is blissful for the hens who roam freely from paddock to laying shed, tucking into the grain grown on the farm and laying in spacious, comfortable conditions in a modern facility which is carefully monitored. Conditions are so good that the Ruradene Farm is the only RSPCA accredited free-range egg farm in South Australia!
So next time you are at the shops buying eggs, make sure you have done your research. Or just come into Three Beans as we guarantee we are only selling the best of the best.