Organic Eggs: All They Are Cracked Up to Be – A Response to CBC’s Marketplace Easter Program

April, 6th 2021 – This Easter weekend, CBC’s Marketplace showcased the results of nutritional testing comparing conventional and organic eggs from fourteen brands; the results left consumers questioning why they should pay more for organic. 

The show tested for vitamins A, E, D, and Omega 3 fatty acids.  While there were no significant differences between “large-scale” organic and conventional eggs in the vitamins, Omega-3s were roughly double in the organic eggs tested. Organic eggs from “smaller” farms were singled out as having higher vitamin D and E as well as higher protein and lower cholesterol.

“We celebrate all farmers who meet the organic standards, no matter the scale,” says OCO President, Rob Wallbridge “The Canada Organic logo requires that hens have at least two to three times the space per bird than what is required by law; that means two to three times the cost of infrastructure. Consumers who care about animal welfare are willing to pay for that.” Organic birds are, by definition, free-run and free-range with absolutely no cages, and requirements for access to the outdoors and the ability to roost.

Infrastructure isn’t the only thing organic shoppers are paying for. Organic layers are fed a diet of organic grains and legumes, which means no GMO seed, synthetic pesticides or fertilizers are used.  Organic production can be more labour intensive as a result, but also beneficial for the health of the soil and farm workers alike.  

While comparing nutrition content is important, a quick spot analysis in the winter-time should by no means be seen by shoppers as scientifically rigorous. “Comparative nutritional analyses are an important indicator of health and taste and we wish we had more of them,” OCO board member David Cohlmeyer explains, “but a more robust analysis would seek to compare eggs produced year-round and include other important minerals, antioxidants and contaminants.”

“We are lucky to live in Canada where egg production standards are high and farmers are fairly compensated.” says Organic Council’s Executive Director, Carolyn Young.  “In Organic, we also deal in standards: rules meant to define principles of health, ecology, fairness and care.  They aren’t always perfect, but they do set a high bar, and we are always trying to raise it.”   The Canadian Organic Standards are renewed every five years and the most recent version,  published this fall, includes new  requirements for improved perches, outdoor shade, and the guidelines for “enriched verandahs” for additional run space in winter. 


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