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5 Egg Codes at Your Supermarket That You Need to Know

Tim Boyer's picture
Supermarket Eggs

The February issue of Consumer Reports on Health tells that in spite of the often conflicting news from day to day whether eggs are really good for you or not, overall, health experts agree that eggs are an important source of nutrition. A typical large hen egg contains 72 calories with 186 mg of cholesterol in the yolk (none in the egg white), 6.3 grams of protein, vitamins B12 and D, as well as several micronutrients that included choline that is important for brain health and lutein that plays an important role toward keeping eyes healthy.

Warnings about how that people with heart disease or a family history of heart disease should abstain from eating eggs to keep down their intake of saturated fat often leave out the entire picture of what makes eggs especial. According to Consumer Reports on Health in an article titled “Unscrambling the latest egg advice,” the real problem is that eggs for breakfast are typically eaten with side items such as bacon, butter, sausage, and/or cheese, which all easily contribute significantly more additional saturated fat than if a person had stuck to eating one egg with a slice of toast and a serving of salsa.

A second point made is that while eating one egg a day is safe and healthy, not paying attention to other potential sources of egg hidden in your food can secretly raise your cholesterol levels. Foods like some breads, cakes, muffins, breaded fish and meatloaf all may contain additional egg and add to the daily egg tally of the not-so-careful consumer.

The bottom line according to Consumer Reports on Health is that eggs are a healthy choice―as long as moderation and keeping your overall dietary picture in mind by not ordering a side of bacon or sausage with your egg as well as avoiding hidden egg sources.

As an added bit of information about the eggs you buy at the supermarket, Consumer Reports on Health offers these 5 supermarket egg codes summarized below:

Egg Code #1: Free-range or Cage-free

Both terms mean essentially the same thing—that the hens that laid the eggs in your carton roam free either in barns or outside, and do not spend their entire lives “cooped” in a cage.

Egg Code #2: Organic

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To qualify as organic, the eggs must come from hens that are raised via a set of guidelines from the USDA National Organic Program that seeks to limit as much as possible the exposure of the egg-laying hens to antibiotics, fertilizers, hormones, herbicides and pesticides.

Egg Code #3: Omega-3

Eggs labeled as containing Omega-3 come from hens that are fed a special diet containing sources of Omega-3 fatty acids such as flax seed, marine algae and/or fish oil.

Egg Code #4: Pasteurized

A safer egg source for recipes that require raw eggs, pasteurized eggs are heated to destroy bacteria and then sealed in food-grade wax to prevent cross contamination from other less-clean sources.

Egg Code #5: Vegetarian

Vegetarian eggs come from hens that were fed all-grain meal only, with no animal byproducts, food scraps, or other additives considered non-vegetarian.

For a recent informative article about whether or not you should eat eggs, follow this link to a more in-depth article titled, “Eating Eggs: A Near Dozen Reasons For and Against.”

Image Source: Courtesy of MorgueFile

Reference: Consumer Reports on Health (February 2013 issue); “Unscrambling the latest egg advice.”